Tallahassee, FL (AHN) -- A study released this week by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission showed that prescription drug deaths are three times that of deaths caused by illegal drugs.
Researchers examined 168, 900 autopsy reports and concluded that there has been an 80 percent increase in prescription drug related deaths over the last six years.
According to reports, monitoring laws are less stringent in Florida than in other states due to concerns over privacy. This makes is easier for doctor shoppers, liberal providers, and drug shipment robbers to obtain the legal drugs, and the result is a large quantity of prescription drugs are available to people with out a prescription.
The study found that 2,328 people died of opiate, or painkiller, overdoses. Another 743 died from over-consuming benzodiazepine, which include drugs like Valium and Xanax. Those numbers were compared to the 989 people who died of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine overdoses.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as many as 7 million Americans are abusing prescription medication, which is more than people using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants combined.
Prescription drug deaths are also the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer and stroke.