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County in Florida no Longer Seeing Death from Prescription Drug Use

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The war against drugs may be far from over but in Pinellas County, Florida; officials are reporting no deaths related to prescription drug use according to an article in TBNWeekly. This information comes following a meeting held with Pinellas County Commissioners on September 11, 2014.

District 6 Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin reported that because of regulations and law enforcement efforts the county was successful in combating their war on prescription drugs. Thogmartin told TBNWeekly, “Prescription drug deaths are mostly gone.  It’s quite wonderful.  We’re back to traffic accidents and the usual stuff.”  This information has officials celebrating considering the county’s checkered past.

It was reported that in 2010 prescription drug deaths were 22 percent higher than fatal car crashes in Pinellas and Pasco counties combined. Pinellas County was also first in the state for both overdose deaths from prescription drugs and babies born addicted to opiates.

The county blamed much of its prescription drug usage on doctors who overprescribed medication for money. In 2010, Commissioners seeing the rise in deaths and dependency passed a moratorium requiring pain management clinics to register and adhere to guidelines.  Those clinics that did not comply were forced to shut down.

Since 2010, this moratorium has been extended each year in hopes that the state move forward with the creation of legislation against prescription drug clinics. So far the state has not taken any action.

Commissioner Susan Latvala, chair of the Prescription Drug Advisory Board said, “The battle is not over.”

Prescription drug dependency continues to be a problem across the nation but this county forages on, day by day.

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