What Are the Deadliest Drugs in Florida?

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

Florida saw a 22 percent increase in drug-related deaths in 2016. That is over 2,000 more people than the year before who died with drugs in their system. Florida drug rehab could have saved them.

Although many people fell prey to opioids, no single opioid was the most deadly drug of the year. The top ranking slot goes to cocaine. As dangerous and common as opioids are, they are further down the list. Combined, however, they are still a large part of the drug epidemic.

This news comes in the annual Florida State Medical Examiners Commission report on drugs found in decedent toxicology reports. Not every drug occurrence causes death, so the report clearly separates presence from cause.

Here is what else the report revealed.

Some of the Most Dangerous Drugs are on the Rise

The Commission found that cocaine was the cause of death for 1,769 Florida residents in 2016. Year over year, the occurrences of cocaine in the body of a decedent increased by nearly 60 percent. Occurrences where cocaine was the cause of death increased a stunning 83 percent. Even more disturbing is the prevalence of cocaine when actual death was caused by another drug.

The Commission reports that where benzodiazepines, fentanyl, morphine, or several other deadly drugs were present, half of those deaths were still caused by cocaine.

Other high-occurrence drugs and the number of deaths they caused in 2016:

  • Fentanyl: 1,390, up 97 percent
  • Morphine: 1,338, up 49 percent
  • Heroin: 952, up 30 percent
  • Oxycodone: 723, up 28 percent
  • Methadone: 330, up 10 percent
  • Methamphetamine: 327, up 104 percent

In virtually every category except ethyl alcohol, which caused 948 deaths last year, the number of drug occurrences in a decedent and the number of deaths caused by the drug increased.

Most Decedents Had More Than One Drug in Their System

Most people who either died with drugs in their system or died as a result of those drugs had used more than one. Pensacola News Journal says, for example, that of 31 deaths caused by hydrocodone, 30 had at least one other drug in their system.

The most common drug of all has not changed much in years. Ethyl alcohol does not get as much publicity as opioid addiction, but it was present in over 5,000 deaths last year. When alcohol is removed from the equation, prescription drugs were “found more often than illicit drugs,” both where drugs were merely present and where drugs caused death.

One of the most dangerous combinations was, and remains, Fentanyl and heroin. Lakeview Center director, Dustin Perry, tells the Journal that the deadly duo is not as common in the Florida panhandle, but it is still growing. Fentanyl-related deaths are equally common among 26- to 34-year-olds and 35- to 50-year-olds.

The primary message of the Florida Medical Examiners Commission report is that drug-related deaths are still on the rise. Some drugs are much more likely to cause death than others. Some drugs are more commonly used than others. However, alcohol abuse, off-label prescription drug use, and illicit drug use are still climbing in Florida and contributing to or causing more deaths every year.

If you or any of your loved ones have an addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs, do not become just another statistic. There are many different treatment options in Florida drug rehab, from medically assisted detox to co-occurring disorder diagnosis and treatment to music therapy, exercise, and many others.

In a safe, clean and healthy environment, you can win the battle against addiction and embrace a healthy lifestyle free from enslavement to substance use disorders. Contact us today to learn how.

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