A national conference on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse was held recently here in Orlando and included law enforcement officials, legislators, medical professionals and others to shed light on what is now described as an epidemic of abuse. Florida has gained a reputation in recent years as an easy place to score prescription drugs, especially painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and others. Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham welcomed the increased attention on prescription drug abuse, as he has represented countless people in recent years that have been injured by people under the influence of prescription pharmaceuticals. Florida’s reputation as a “pill mill” where people from all over the country can easily obtain drugs has brought much-needed attention to our state’s problems.
A new study has found that overdoses of prescription painkillers now kill more people in the U.S. each year than auto accidents do, and they have become the leader in preventable deaths in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal overdoses from prescription medication more than tripled to 13,800 from 1999 to 2006 in the U.S. Recent data suggest that overdoses have nearly tripled again since 2006, with at least 37,485 people killed in 2009 from taking powerful painkillers such as OxyContin, Xanax, Vicodin and others. James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury attorneys are especially concerned that our state is now being called the “epicenter” of this abuse. Recently, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has indicted dozens of physicians and operators of clinics for unnecessarily prescribing these potentially lethal drugs.