Opioid overdose deaths and Florida's crackdown on pill mills

Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Matthew Richey, Emma E. McGinty, Elizabeth A. Stuart, Colleen L. Barry, Daniel W. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objectives.We examined the effect on opioid overdose mortality of Florida state laws and law enforcement operations targeting "pill mills." Methods. We collected 2003 to 2012 mortality data from the Florida Department of Health and the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics (the comparison state) to estimate changes in the rates of death from prescription opioid, heroin, or any opioid overdose. Results. Florida's actions were associated with an estimated 1029 lives saved from prescription opioid overdose over a 34-month period. Estimated reductions in deaths grew over the intervention period, with rates per 100 000 population that were 0.6 lower in 2010, 1.8 lower in 2011, and 3.0 lower in 2012 than what would have been expected had the changes inmortality rate trends in Florida been the same as changes in trends in North Carolina. Florida's mortality rates from heroin and total opioid overdose were also lower than anticipated relative to changes in trends in North Carolina. Conclusions. Findings from this study indicate that laws regulating pain clinics and enforcement of these laws may, in combination, reduce opioid overdose deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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