Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact Florida | St. Petersburg Times
Sorting out the truth in state politics

Florida's drug problem: 49 of top 50 oxycodone prescribers are from state

The statement

"Nearly all of the top 50 prescribers of oxycodone in the United States are in Florida."

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, Feb. 28 in an op-ed published in Florida newspapers.

The ruling

Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin and other painkillers such as Percocet. Oxycodone abuses have been well documented, particularly the problems in Florida. From 2001 to 2008, more than 2,000 Floridians have died of overdoses of oxycodone, the St. Petersburg Times reported in a series of stories.

We started by asking the Governor's Office of Drug Control, a group Kottkamp leads, to see if his figure was accurate.

Bruce Grant, the director of the drug control office, cited a report from the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. While the report focuses primarily on Broward County, it uses national figures from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to say that 49 of the 50 top prescribers are in Florida.

And 25 of the top 50 prescribers are in Broward, according to the report, which relied on figures from Oct. 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009.

"We're trying — without saying the sky is falling — to let people know this is a genuine crisis," said Grant. "This is bad."

Grant said South Florida has become a popular marketplace for people from all over the country who want the painkiller.

"If you go down there, when you see what's going on, it will blow your mind," Grant said. "The parking lots are literally filled with out of state plates. People from Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, they're hanging around. People are lined up outside the doors."

DEA Special Agent David Melenkevitz, who is based in Miami, confirmed the accuracy of the Broward report. He said the numbers come from oxycodone distribution statistics, which the DEA tracks. A list of the specific pharmacies or clinics is not public record, Melenkevitz said.

And so we rate Kottkamp's statement True.

This ruling has been edited for print. For the full ruling — and others — go to PolitiFact.com/Florida.

Florida's drug problem: 49 of top 50 oxycodone prescribers are from state 03/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 5:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.