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Half of Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers Being Abused in Florida Cities. Are You One of The Abusers?

A study conducted by Castlight Health – a healthcare information company that offers employers data on different healthcare programs so they can choose the best for their company – revealed the 30 U.S. cities with the worst addiction problems. But instead of being based on street drugs, the assessment consisted of abuse of painkiller prescriptions written by doctors and paid for by employers. Two of the worst on the list are in Florida. And you may be one of the abusers.

With the worst problems being number one and the least being number 30, the Florida cities came in at numbers 16 (Pensacola – population under 54,000), and 13 (Panama City – population under 38,000).

The situation in Florida shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2011, when the opioid epidemic was ragingly out of control, 98 of the top 100 oxycodone dispensers were in Florida. Although many of these ‘pill mills’ have since been closed down, getting rid of all the addiction it caused isn’t proving so easy. True, the addicts had to find other sources for their drugs, often eventually turning to heroin which is less expensive and more accessible.

The pill mills were not only addicting Floridians, the State also became a dispensary for many other States where prescriptions for oxycodone, OxyContin, and similar painkillers weren’t as easy to come by. Drug dealers from many States north of Florida flocked to these pill mills to get drugs they would take back to their own States, contributing to the addiction problems there as well.

If you check the online news about the Pensacola drug problem you’ll find at least a dozen articles just in the last month, including arrests of burglars preying on pharmacies to steal opioids in Pensacola and at least one other Florida city, human trafficking of children attributed in part to drug abuse in the homes, and visits from Senator Marco Rubio to discuss how to handle the opioid crisis.

The Castlight Health study found that 48.1 percent of the opioid prescriptions written in Pensacola met the major criteria for abuse – high dosages and getting the prescriptions from multiple providers.

Panama City is one of the smallest cities on the list, but the percentage of opioid painkillers prescriptions that fit the criteria for abuse is 51.6 percent.

Remember that these drugs were prescribed by a doctor. And the people taking them have either been taking them for too long or at too high a dosage – even though they’ve been doing to only one doctor. Others have gone from doctor to doctor so either they’re selling some or all of them to others, or they are using them themselves but were refused further prescriptions from one doctor, who probably thought they’d become dependent or addicted and it was no longer safe, and went to another. And another, and another.

Sometimes the problem is chronic pain and they’re not being given other, non-drug, solutions. But something the chronic pain is over and the person has just become addicted or dependent.

When one or more of these things happen to 50 percent of the prescriptions written, you’re talking about a dangerous drug.

Sometimes they’re needed. But take them in the smallest dosage possible and for the shortest period of time. And if you need help getting off them, call us. We’ll help find a drug rehab program that works for you.

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