When "pill mills" were shut down, it was a good thing, but too many people who had become addicted to opiates turned to heroin - a cheaper alternative - and, especially in combination with other drugs including fentanyl and benzodiazepines, there has been a surge in overdose deaths.
The local surge is in keeping with an overall statewide trend. The state Medical Examiner's Commission reported a sharp rise in heroin deaths beginning in 2012. That year, there were 108 deaths statewide, compared with 57 the year before. In 2013, the total reached 199 deaths. The number of statewide deaths in 2014 is expected to be even higher.
Meanwhile, Florida continues to spend only $37.28 per person on mental health and substance abuse services, far below the national average of $124.99 per person. Your voice and your advocacy matter - speak up for an effective, efficient, and adequately funded system of care!