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Drug-Related Death Report In Florida - April 2001

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Published On: April, 2001          Updated On: January 26, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Drug-Related Death Report In Florida
April 2001

News Release of the 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Cocaine Related Deaths Down for the Second Year

April 18, 2001

The Florida Medical Examiner's Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons report for the year 2000 was released today, showing a 3% decrease in Florida's cocaine deaths and only a slight increase in the number of heroin deaths.  The report details a significant contrast to the steady increase in drug related deaths during the 1990's, as indicated by the charts below.  Specifically, we have seen an 8% decrease in cocaine related deaths since 1998, as compared to a 59% increase between 1990 and 1998.  Similarly, heroin deaths increased less than 1% since 1998, as compared to an 81% increase since 1996, when heroin data was first collected.

Because of the increasing deaths resulting from drug overdoses, on July 1, 2000, the Medical Examiners began reporting further drug information, in addition to cocaine and heroin.  Because of the cooperation among the Medical Examiners, Florida now has a much improved picture of the drug related deaths.

During this six-month time period, 2,669 individuals died in Florida with cocaine, heroin, and/or other drugs identified in their bodies.  The highest numbers of heroin related deaths in Florida were in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.  The highest number of cocaine related deaths in Florida were found in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, and West Palm Beach.

An interesting observation made from the new data collected for July to December 2000 shows over 50% of the cocaine and heroin related deaths were that of 35 to 50-year olds.  For the same time period, almost 60% of the Hydrocodone & Oxycodone related deaths were that of 35 to 50-year olds.  Almost 50% of the Methylated Amphetamines related deaths were that of 25-year olds and younger.

Commissioner Tim Moore stated, "This report represents one more body of evidence of the pernicious evil associated with the use of illicit drugs.  Not only does it rob our young people of their youth and vitality; it takes away the promise of a bright and hopeful future.  The numbers represent evidence of a terrible choice that far too many of our citizens are making: a few moments of 'hoped for escape' in exchange for a death sentence.  It is my hope that all will take note of these somber numbers and seek help before it is too late!"

"Drugs continue to be a threat to the health and safety of Floridians," said James McDonough, Director of the Office of Drug Control.  "While we are encouraged to see a reversal in the negative trends of such traditional drugs as cocaine and heroin, we must also put a check on the growing threat from club drugs and from the illegal use of prescription drugs.

 

 

To review the entire Florida Medical Examiner's Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons report for the year 2000, go to: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/publications/fme_drug_report.pdf

For more information, contact:

Richard Wolfe, Office of Drug Control
(850) 488-9557 

Al Dennis
Public Information Director
Public Information Office
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLA)
(850) 410-7001

 

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