Politics

New Data Shows Prescription Pill Deaths Up From 2009

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(Photo Credit: AP)

(Photo Credit: AP)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Despite numerous campaigns to educate the public about he dangers of prescription pill abuse, drug deaths in Florida increased nearly 9 percent last year compared to 2009.

Data released Monday shows there were 2,710 deaths in Florida last year caused by prescription drugs, compared to 2,488 in 2009.

After the data was released, Gov. Rick Scott said he believes stronger legislation and regulation, along with more money for police, is helping in 2011.

Scott was in Sunrise Monday to watch as a million dollars worth of oxycodone and other narcotics seized in the pill mill wars were destroyed. He was joined by Sunrise Police Chief John Brooks who said they are making a dent in the overwhelming prescription drug war.

“You see the changes in price, availability,” Chief Brooks said. “It’s the first time we’re seeing a concerted effort.”

Florida has been a leading source for the illicit purchase of prescription drugs, with addicts and dealers from across the Southeast flocking to pain clinics.

Scott says the effort to stem the scourge is a personal one for him because he has a brother who has abused drugs for many years.

“Any of us who are parents are scared to death of our kids using drugs,” Scott said. “I’ve had drug abuse in my family, and it’s just devastating.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the numbers released Monday during a news conference at the county medical examiner’s office in Miami continue to show a tragic trend.

“Be assured, our work is far from over,” Bailey said.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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