Prescription drug deaths falling across Florida


Oxycodone continued to be the biggest killer in Florida, but the number of deaths linked to the drug has significantly dropped, according to an annual report released by Florida’s medical examiners.

Deaths caused by oxycodone plunged by 41 percent last year. Overall, occurrences of prescription drug deaths fell by 9.9 percent, according to the 2012 Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Report by Florida Medical Examiners.

"While this drastic decline in deaths caused by prescription drugs is great, we must remain steadfast in our efforts to save more lives from prescription drug, said Attorney General Pam Bondi and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Assistant Commissioner Mark Zadra in a news release.

The report shows that in 2012, drugs were either present or the cause of death in 8,330 Floridians, down from 9,135 in 2011.

Drug deaths fell not only in oxycodone, but fewer people died in 2012 from methadone, hydrocodone and cocaine as well.

“The impact of Florida law enforcement is being felt by the pill traffickers,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Despite the drop in prescription drug deaths, those drugs continued to be found more often than illicit drugs in cause of death.

The drugs that caused the most deaths in 2012 were oxycodone, alprazolam, ethyl alcohol, cocaine, methadone, morphine, hydrocodone and diazepam.

The Office of Vital Statistics reported more than 178,000 deaths in 2012 and 8,330 were drug related.

The complete report is available at

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