Tough prevention measures in Florida have caused the prescription death rates in the state to fall by a significant amount, showing that these steps can be highly effective. From the year 2010 to the year 2012 Florida saw a decline in the rate of prescription overdose deaths by 23%, a large drop which goes against the trend of increasing rates in many other places. In 2010 the state made changes in the legislation of prescription medications likely to be abused, and law enforcement and government agencies stepped up enforcement of the laws concerning these drugs. Many pill mills were closed down, and these practices were nothing more than a front for unlimited prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, with physicians prescribing narcotics for any reason at all.
Does the dropping prescription overdose rate in Florida mean that tough prevention measures are the answer to illegal prescription drug abuse? The most effective approach involves more than one factor. Early prevention, better enforcement of the existing laws on the books, and new laws designed to make it harder for those who do not medically require them to get the prescription drugs in the first place. A balance must be struck so that patients with a legitimate need for proper pain management have access to the relief they require while preventing the prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands or being abused in some way. Pain clinics in Florida must register with the state and are closely monitored. Across the USA and Canada many general practice and family physicians refer patients to specialty pain management clinics rather than prescribe heavy narcotics.