Monday, August 24, 2009

Broward County Leaders in Substance Abuse Recognized

The United Way of Broward County's Commission on Substance Abuse last week honored 14 local activists and politicians for their work in getting the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program bill passed.

Honorees included Broward County Circuit Court Judge Marcia Beach and County Judge Gisele Pollack, Florida Representatives Kelly Skidmore, Ari Porth, Kurt Kelly and lobbyist Ron Book.

The PDMP bill, signed by Florida Governor Crist on June 18, will assist physicians in the proper treatment of their patients, especially those who may have a substance abuse problem. The secondary purpose is to assist law enforcement in reducing the illegal diversion of prescription drugs.

Quick statistics from the United Way:
• Florida has been the largest populated state without such a monitoring program
• Nationally, 23 of the top 25 doctors prescribing the most oxycodone are located in Broward County
• Florida physicians prescribe 5 times more oxycodone than the national average
• On average, 9 Floridians die every day from lethal overdoses of illegal prescription drugs
• 12-17 years old abuse prescription drugs more than they abuse ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined

United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (a drug free coalition) established the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force in 2002 in response to emerging data on the effects of prescription drug abuse impacting the residents of Broward County.

Read the United Way press release here.

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