“Legal” Overdoses and Injuries from Drug Interactions in Florida

Drug Dealers are not the Only Ones Dispensing Injuries and Death

Almost everyone knows someone who has had an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or both. It is far too common, and despite laws against drunk driving, illegal drugs, and a crackdown on “pill mills” there are still too many overdoses, deaths, and fatal car accidents involving alcohol and drugs.

People always attempt to find a way to get what they want.

Recently in Florida and across the country heroin has risen in popularity, possibly due to the aforementioned closure of the unscrupulous pain medication dispensaries. The drug was detected in 447 fatalities throughout the state in 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s medical examiners. That’s an all-time high, and more than double the 199 people who had the drug in their bodies when they died in 2013. The deadly surge paralleled that of another drug — fentanyl — which was detected in 538 deaths. That was an 84 percent jump from the 292 fatalities in 2013.

Fortunately Florida just passed and enacted a law to allow the drug naloxone to be sold over-the-counter. Naloxone counters the damage done by opioids like heroin and can save lives.

NOTE TO INSPECTOR:  the commercial and personal identifying info has been reomved on all labels Dozens of prescription medicine bottles in a jumble. This collection of pill bottles is symbolic of the many medications senior adults and chronically ill people take.A tactic used by many drug addicts called “doctor shopping” is where the individual goes from doctor-to-doctor getting multiple prescriptions for their particular pharmaceutical drug of choice. They fill the orders at different pharmacies and thereby skirt the laws intended to prohibit this type of activity. The State of New York just implemented electronic prescribing, which is designed to stop doctor shopping but has both pro and con opinions on whether it will help.

Doctors and pharmacists are committed and bound to follow a standard of care when prescribing or dispensing drugs. For example, if a patient fills a prescription for several hundred strong pain pills, well over the normal dosage, a pharmacy and their employed pharmacists and technicians should be aware there is a problem. Instead, in this day of drive-through pharmacies, the practice goes on and people suffer.

Despite the fact rates of painkiller addiction are lower now than ever, Florida remains the 11th state in terms of the severity of painkiller abuse; moreover, the majority of drug-related deaths that occur in Florida are still caused by benzodiazepines and oxycodone.

We encourage anyone and everyone who is taking prescription medications to do some homework on their own regarding the possible side-effects and interactions with other drugs or food. But that’s not enough. Take the time to speak with every doctor who gives you a prescription. Go inside your pharmacy and speak with the pharmacist. Information and education are the tools to staying well and avoiding drug injuries.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is committed to help people who have suffered due to errors, carelessness, or negligence on the part of physicians or pharmacists who make mistakes related to prescription medications that hurt victims through no fault of their own.