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Policy Changes Show Reduction in Painkiller Abuse

jamapillmillsWhile Florida is known in the addiction treatment field as having a thriving recovery community, it also has had the unfortunate past of being the one-time pill mill capital of the United States. However, a new law was enacted back in 2010 that changed how the pill mills operated in an attempt to crack down on the prescription painkiller epidemic.

Pill mills try to disguise themselves as more legitimate pain clinics, but had become a one-stop shop for addicts looking for easy prescriptions for opiates such OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. Due to these operations, Florida turned into a destination for people from out of state to obtain their painkillers and then bring them back home to use and sell. These pill mills were supplying many thousands of addicts with drugs as a result.

Thankfully, the policy change in 2010 and the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program in 2011 made all that much more difficult, and now some results have been measured, thanks to a new study that appeared in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“The declines that we saw were equal to something in the range of 500,000 5 mg tabs of Vicodin per month. So that’s a lot of pills. And from a policy perspective, understanding that in the first year, we are seeing a declining trend that can be attributed to these laws certainly points the way toward future research to see what happened then in years two, three and four,” explained Lainie Rutkow one of the lead authors of the study.

While the researchers saw a modest improvement with a 1.4 percent reduction in the number of narcotic prescriptions, South Florida specifically saw a huge benefit. Before the law, Florida doctors sold almost 46 million oxycodone tablets. That number dropped by 97 percent the following year, according to the Miami Herald.

If you or someone you know needs help for a problem with prescription painkillers, or any other substance, contact Genesis House today.