Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Opioid Overdose Deaths and Florida's Crackdown on Pill Mills

TitleOpioid Overdose Deaths and Florida's Crackdown on Pill Mills
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKennedy-Hendricks, A, Richey, M, McGinty, EE, Stuart, EA, Barry, CL, Webster, DW
JournalAm J Public Health
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number1541-0048 (Electronic)0090-0036 (Linking)
Accession Number26691121
Keywords*Law Enforcement, Analgesics, Opioid/*adverse effects, Drug and Narcotic Control/legislation & jurisprudence, Drug Overdose/*mortality, Florida, Humans, North Carolina, Pain Management, Practice Patterns, Physicians', Prescription Drug Diversion/legislation & jurisprudence/prevention & control, Prescription Drug Misuse/*adverse effects

OBJECTIVES: We examined the effect on opioid overdose mortality of Florida state laws and law enforcement operations targeting "pill mills." METHODS: We collected 2003 to 2012 mortality data from the Florida Department of Health and the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics (the comparison state) to estimate changes in the rates of death from prescription opioid, heroin, or any opioid overdose. RESULTS: Florida's actions were associated with an estimated 1029 lives saved from prescription opioid overdose over a 34-month period. Estimated reductions in deaths grew over the intervention period, with rates per 100,000 population that were 0.6 lower in 2010, 1.8 lower in 2011, and 3.0 lower in 2012 than what would have been expected had the changes in mortality rate trends in Florida been the same as changes in trends in North Carolina. Florida's mortality rates from heroin and total opioid overdose were also lower than anticipated relative to changes in trends in North Carolina. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study indicate that laws regulating pain clinics and enforcement of these laws may, in combination, reduce opioid overdose deaths.