RX drug deaths down, heroin and meth abuse up

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Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 5:08 pm

SARASOTA--According to the Florida State Attorney General's office, 2012 saw a huge drop in the number of deaths from prescription drug overdoses.

"I've never seen an epidemic as bad as the prescription drugs," said Deborah Kostroun of Manatee Glens, "it's delightful to see the number of deaths due to prescription drugs coming down."

Numbers show that in 2012, there was a forty-one percent drop in deaths from overdoses of oxycodone. On top of that, the overall number of prescription drug deaths fell by almost ten percent. Local authorities say this success is part of a team effort.

"It isn't just law enforcement, we have health providers that are doing the right thing, we have doctors are doing the right things, pharmacists are doing the right thing and I think a lot of it has to do with education," said Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight.

He admits though, that as pills are harder to come by, addicts are turning to other drugs like heroin or meth to get their fix. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for authorities.

"For us in law enforcement its easier to deal with the illegal products than the legal products, so we are able to nip it in the bud much quicker," said Knight.

And addiction experts say with fewer people abusing prescription drugs, there's also a decrease in crime, which takes a burden off everyone, addict or not.

"It affects burglaries, robberies, destroyed families [and] children coming into the child welfare system which we as taxpayers all have to be responsible for," said Kostroun.

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