Drug Involvement in Florida Deaths in 2016

Florida medical examiner's report November 2017 

Each year, the Florida Medical Examiner releases a report of which drugs were involved in reported deaths. These data are quite revealing : we can see what substances may have contributed to deaths (such as in overdose cases), or contributed to the circumstances leading to death (such as alcohol and vehicle accidents.

As we study the report, we add notes to those pages we feel are especially revealing.

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  • Drugs involvement is a complex measure. A single death may involve several drugs, while none or some or all may have been considered causal to the death. Read the report carefully, in order to be properly informed.
  • Summary comparison to 2015. Total drug-related deaths in Florida increased by 22% over the prior year. Opioid deaths up 35% but cocaine caused the most deaths in 2016. Heroin up 30%, and fentanyl up 97%
  • Buprenorphine seen more often (90% increase) while oxycodone deaths increased 30%. Examiners found cocaine more often (up 57%) and deaths caused by cocaine topped the list, a 83% increase over 2015.
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  • Data charts for 2016
  • Page 09
  • Excellent bar chart showing all drugs and how often they were found when studying Florida deaths.
  • Data charts for 2015 to 2016 comparisons.
  • Page 12
  • Chart showing 3 years of history of drugs found when studying deaths in Florida.
  • Frequency of occurrence of benzodiazepines. Alprazolam (e.g. Xanax) tops the list by far.
  • Page 15
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  • Map of frequency of Alprazolam (e.g. Xanax) found in deaths in Florida, by county. Bay county tops the list.
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  • Map of frequency of oxycodone found in deaths in Florida, by county. Holmes county tops the list.
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  • Map of frequency of hydrocodone found in deaths in Florida, by county. Holmes county again tops the list.
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  • Dixie county suffered the most incidences of methadone-involved deaths in Florida in 2016.
  • Page 31
  • Oxycodone is rising again in Florida since 2014, after steadily decreasing from the peak Pill Mill days of 2010.
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  • Map of 2016 morphine-involved deaths per capita, for all counties in Florida.
  • Page 36
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  • Map of fentanyl deaths per county. Duval and Palm Beach counties stand out, with very high counts of fentanyl deaths in 2016.
  • Very scary chart showing rapid rise of fentanyl found in deaths. Near exponential rise, since 2013
  • Page 40
  • Another very scary chart: carfentanil found in 43% of fentanyl-related deaths in 2016. Carfentanil is a deadly elephant tranquilizer with no medical utility for humans.
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  • Map of cocaine deaths by county. You can almost say "follow the money" for this distribution map.
  • Page 48
  • Scary chart showing rapid rise of cocaine deaths in Florida in 2016, rising since 2013. Suggests 2017 numbers will be far worse.
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  • Heroin deaths by Florida county in 2016. Palm Beach county once again at the top.
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  • Cause vs. Present chart for drugs mostly not causing the deaths
  • Cause vs. Present chart for drugs often causing the deaths
  • Cause vs. Present chart for drugs almost always causing the deaths
  • For the commonly abused drugs, far more deaths were accidental than any other cause.
  • For the most dangerous drugs (those causing the most deaths under study), 80-98% of all deaths were ACCIDENTAL
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  • Page 64 download the report here.