Drug abuse from prescription drugs has become more of a problem in Florida than more commonly reported illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, crystal meth and marijuana, according to an article from Reuters. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, deaths from abuse or misuse of prescription drugs exceeded deaths from all illegal drugs combined in 2007. In the 45-54 age group, deaths from prescription drugs exceeded is the number one cause of accidental death, displacing auto accidents.
One reason for the increase in prescription drug abuse is the ease with which people are able to obtain prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, Xanax and others over the Internet without a prescription from a legitimate doctor, an issue which has been discussed here previously. According to the article, medical treatment for abuse of painkillers increased by 321% from 1995 to 2005.
The article points out that perception makes a difference and is fueling this problem. For instance, a parent may be more concerned about a child using marijuana than a dangerous drug like Oxycontin due to the stigma associated with marijuana and the relative lack of knowledge of the effects of taking various dangerous prescription drugs.