Florida Drug Deaths Continued To Rise Dramatically in 2016, Says New Medical Examiner Report

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Florida Drug Deaths Continued To Rise Dramatically in 2016, Says New Medical Examiner Report

A recent report from Florida medical examiners and law enforcement reveal concerning findings of drug overdose deaths in the state. Entitled “Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners”, it reports nearly 5,400 fatalities in the first half of 2016 investigated by medical examiners. The drugs were either responsible for the deaths or were found to be present via toxicology reports.

The report uses data by county for a statewide overview and compares tallies among Florida’s more than two dozen medical examiner districts.

The conclusion is that the trend of rising drug overdose deaths continues. There were increases in fatalities related to both heroin and fentanyl, but many other drugs showed up on toxicology tests, as well.

According to the report:

  • Deaths related to drug rose in the first six months of 2016 by nearly 14% compared to the first half of 2015.
  • More than 3,200 people (466 more than the same period in 2015) died due to consumption of prescription drug(s.)
  • Heroin-related deaths rose by one-quarter, and deaths related to fentanyl ncreased by 139%.
  • Oxycodone drug deaths rose 17%, and cocaine-related deaths increased 43%.

Drugs responsible for the most deaths:

  • Fentanyl and analogs (860)
  • Cocaine (643)
  • Benzodiazepines (632)
  • Morphine (559)
  • Heroin (406)
  • Alcohol (405)
  • Oxycodone (324)
  • Methadone (156)

Persons aged 35-50 died from more cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, morphine, and Xanax-related deaths than any other age group. Takeaway: this is bad news for Gen X. They also suffered deaths due to hydrocodone, oxycodone, and diazepam (Valium), second only to those in the 50 and older bracket.

On the other hand, persons aged 18-34 saw an increase in heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine-related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died from an unintentional overdose related to a substance. Of those, 33,000 were related to opioids or opiates, such as prescription drugs, heroin, and fentanyl. In 2015, more than 3,300 Floridians lost their lives to a drug overdose, reflecting a nearly 23% increased from the year before.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology



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