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Florida’s Prescription Drug Addiction – Painkillers are Epidemic

If you’re living in Florida and have a friend or family member with a prescription drug addiction or abuse problem – even if they got the pills from a doctor – it’s no surprise to us. It would be difficult to find an addiction treatment center that is not currently helping a fairly large number of people who are trying to get off them.

Florida has been called ‘the pill state’ for a few years now. Recently it was reported that Broward County, home to Fort Lauderdale, has so many pain clinics popping up that it’s now being called the painkiller capital of the United States. The population is about 1.8 million and the pain clinics alone prescribed about 6.5 million painkillers in the last half of 2008.

Florida doesn’t have a prescription drug monitoring program so no one is really watching over what’s happening to these patients other than the doctors at the pain clinics and, since their specialty is managing pain – i.e. controlling the symptoms with drugs instead of offering treatment that could get rid of the underlying problem - depending on them to make sure the patient isn’t in trouble is a little like having Cinderella made a ward of her wicked stepmother.

And the residents of the county – as well as thousands of people who come from out of state to get painkillers, some even camping outside the doors of the county’s 85 pain clinics waiting for them to open – are paying for it. The coroner says deaths from prescription drug overdose have increased by 107% in the last two years and called the situation an epidemic of drug abuse. God only knows how many people are addicted – it’s hard to escape addiction with painkillers so the numbers have got to be big.

The brisk business of painkillers in Broward County is also servicing other states. The total number of oxycodone pills handed out by just 45 doctors – who the DEA says they ‘hate’ to call doctors because they’re just after the money – handed out 9 million oxycodone pills (they could be OxyContin, vicodin, percocet, and so on) in the last six months of 2008.

If you have a friend or family member who is in pain, do yourself and them a favor and find an alternative treatment. Prescription painkillers are highly addictive and getting them off the pills once they’ve started is tough. If they’re already using them, find an addiction treatment center that can help them. And remember one thing – if they say they can’t stop because they’re still in pain it’s possible that the painkillers themselves are causing it. Extended use of painkillers can do that.