The epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse has medical professionals, law enforcement, and legislators across North America trying to find ways to fight this type of substance abuse. Some places like Florida have enacted tough laws to try and lower the rate of prescription painkiller abuse, but does this work? The steps that were taken by Florida have had an impact on this type of substance abuse, lowering the rate in the state by roughly 1.5%. This may seem like a small decrease, but it is happening at a time when other areas are seeing the rate jump instead of dropping. The decrease took a year to occur, but it does show that the tough laws Florida put in place can have an effect.
John Hopkins Center of Drug Safety and Effectiveness in Baltimore co-director and the lead author of the study on prescription painkiller abuse and tough laws, Dr. Caleb Alexander, explained that “There are no magic bullets when it comes to the opioid epidemic. The problem is huge. America is just 5 percent of the world’s population, but we consume 80 percent of all opioids, and more Americans have died from opioid abuse than double the number who died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam combined, But these types of policies and programs are one of the main tools states have to combat the problem. So it’s very important that we evaluate their impact. And I do think these reductions are clinically important. Because even just a 2 percent reduction in opioid volume translates into hundreds of thousands of fewer pills dispensed per month.”