In order to combat serious prescription pill misuse and addiction, the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was established in 2009. Although it quickly alleviated the state’s reputation as the prescription pill capital of America, it resulted in a succession of further drug problems for the state and in resulted in Florida’s battle against drug addiction taking a devastating turn.
Florida’s PDMP moved to combat the serious problem of prescription pill addiction on Florida streets by increasing the costs of many prescription pills and by dismantling some of the major illegal production and distribution sites throughout south Florida, the majority of which operated within Broward County. State legislation was also introduced that imposed serious restrictions on the availability and distribution of many prescription drugs. However, by making opiate pills, such as oxycodone, prohibitively expensive to many, addicts instead turned to – the now cheaper and more readily available – heroin as an alternative.
Since the introduction of these measures, many rehab and medical centers have reported increasing numbers of heroin addiction, with some facilities admitting an additional 50% of heroin cases within the first year of the program’s introduction.
Reported cases of overdose and/or death related to heroin addiction have tripled from 2010 to 2013. Over 250 cases of heroin addiction were reported in south Florida alone in 2013. Florida officials also report that these numbers will continue to rise, with some estimating that by the end of 2015 the number of deaths linked with heroin abuse and addiction will reach beyond the 400 mark.