While Florida saw a year-to-year drop in its prescription drug rate from 2010 to 2016, the state is one that still ranks high for drug and alcohol misuse. This suffering is evident in the number of drug overdose deaths in the state over the last few years.
A significant increase in the number of drug overdoses occurred in Florida from 2015 to 2016. The state experienced a 46-percent year-to-year increase, which was labeled as “a significant rise” in the eyes of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 4,721 drug overdose deaths in 2016, the most of any state in the country. Florida includes 67 counties and nearly 21 million residents, making it one of the largest states in the country. The top five counties in Florida with the most drug or alcohol overdoses from 2014–2016 were:
- Palm Beach (1,142)
- Brevard (1,032)
- Duval (717)
- Miami-Dade (643)
- Pinellas (638)
Those results only take into consideration three years’ worth of data, a small sample size to determine which areas in the state are the most recently susceptible to drug overdose. Looking at the broader range of 1999–2016 provides a large enough amount of data to determine the counties and areas that are most susceptible to overdose deaths.
In that same time frame of 1999–2016, Floridians were 22 percent more likely to die of a drug or alcohol overdose than the average American. Florida ranked thirteenth in the country based on its overdose death rate, which is the number of deaths among the population of a given geographical area during a given year, per 1,000 mid-year total population. This figure is also used to rank the 10 counties with the highest drug and alcohol overdose death rates.
10. Palm Beach County (15.3)
Palm Beach County, which is just north of Dade County and Miami, sits on the southeastern section of the peninsula and includes more than 1 million residents. The county includes many major cities and towns — Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach.
Between 1999 and 2016, the combined annual population topped 23 million. With 3,552 deaths due to drug overdose, the county’s 15.3 overdose death rate ranked No. 10 in Florida and was lower than only 11.75 percent of other counties in the state. People who lived in Palm Beach County during this time period were 28 percent more likely to die of drug overdose than an average American. From 2014–2016, the county had a death rate of 27, the third highest in Florida.
Florida, like many states, has been hit hard by the rise of prescription drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. Between 1999 and 2016, the state’s overdose death rate increased from 6.4 to 23.7 and jumped from a rate of 16.2 in 2015 to 23.7 in 2016. Finding a way to stall and then decrease that rate is a priority for Florida and many other areas in the United States.
The Recovery Village offers several options in Florida for those seeking addiction treatment. The network of rehabilitation facilities has multiple locations in the state, including its flagship center in Umatilla. People who are suffering from a substance use disorder should call today to speak to a representative and learn more about The Recovery Village’s high-quality care for addiction and co-occurring disorders.
9. Sarasota County (15.3)
Sarasota County, located on the southwest portion of Florida’s peninsula, had a combined annual population of 6,648,913 between 1999 and 2016. With a 15.3 overdose death rate, Sarasota County has the ninth-highest overdose death rate in the state. There were 1,020 deaths due to overdose and people who lived in the county were 28 percent more likely to die of an overdose than the average American citizen. Only in 6.66 percent of Florida counties were people more susceptible to an overdose death than in Sarasota County, which includes North Port, Sarasota and Venice.
8. Citrus County (16.2)
Citrus County had an overdose death rate of 16.2, which is the eighth highest in the state, between 1999 and 2016. The county had 2,414,896 total residents during that time frame and 392 overdose-related deaths. Citrus County includes Crystal River, Beverly Hills, Citrus Hills, Inverness, Citrus Springs, Homosassa, Hernando, Pine Ridge, Lecanto and Floral City. People who live there are 36 percent more likely to die of an overdose than the average American. Looking at more-recent figures, the county continues to struggle with overdoses. Citrus County had a death rate of 27, the third highest in the state, from 2014–2016.
7. Hernando County (16.6)
Hernando County, which is located along the western coast of Florida’s peninsula, includes two main cities: Brooksville and Spring Hill. There are a number of small towns and unincorporated communities, and the county had a combined annual population of 2,889,793, recorded between 1999 and 2016.
Located near St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the county has an overdose death rate of 16.6, the seventh highest in Florida. There have been 480 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2016, and people who live in Hernando County were 39 percent more likely to die due to drug overdose than an average American.
6. Brevard County (17.3)
Brevard County is a major hub of the state’s Atlantic Coast population. The county includes Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Satellite Beach, Titusville and West Melbourne. There also are numerous towns and unincorporated communities that comprise Brevard County.
Despite some of the major attractions, including the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County has the sixth-highest crude death rate for drug overdoses in Florida. With a 17.3 overdose death rate, the county had 1,645 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2016, with a combined annual population of 9,534,289. People who live in Brevard County were 44 percent more likely to die due to drug overdose than an average American.
5. Pinellas County (17.9)
Pinellas County is one of the largest counties in Florida and includes nearly 1 million people. The major cities are Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Seminole, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island. Between 1999 and 2016, the combined annual population was 16,678,563 and there were 2,990 deaths. The county’s overdose death rate in that time period was 17.9, which is the fifth highest in the state and is only lower than 8 percent of Florida counties. Residents of Pinellas County were 50 percent more likely to die due to drug overdose than the average American.
From 2014–2016, the death rate was 22. That ranks eleventh in Florida, evidence that the county has not seen a reduction in drug overdoses drug overdose in recent years.
4. Manatee County (18.3)
Manatee County’s overdose death rate of 18.3 is the fourth highest in Florida. Between 1999 and 2016,the county has had a total combined population of 5,652,231, with 1,035 overdose deaths. People who live in the county — which includes Bradenton, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Palmetto — were 53 percent more likely to die than the average American.
From just 2014–2016, the county struggled with drug overdose more than any other in Florida, relative to its population. Manatee County’s death rate was 38, the highest in the state during that time frame.
3. Okeechobee County (18.8)
With an 18.8 overdose death rate, Okeechobee County has the third-highest overdose rate in the state. The county had a total population of 695,482 people between 1999 and 2016, and 131 residents died due to an overdose during that time period. Only 6.5 percent of Florida counties are more deadly than Okeechobee County when it comes to drug overdose deaths, and residents in the area were 57.8 percent more likely to die of an overdose than average Americans. Okeechobee is the only city in the county, which includes several unincorporated areas.
2. Monroe County (20.2)
Monroe County, which had a total population of 1,374,281 people between 1999 and 2016, had the second-highest overdose death rate during that time frame. With a 20.2 overdose death rate, Monroe County had 278 overdose deaths during that time frame. The rate puts Monroe County residents in the top 93 percentile of susceptibility of a drug overdose, and people who lived in the county were 69 percent more likely to die of an overdose than an average American. Key West is the most noteworthy city in the county, and other cities include Marathon, Key Colony Beach and Layton. Monroe County’s death rate of 25 from 2014–2016 shows its struggle with overdose has not dissipated in recent years. That number remains the seventh highest in Florida.
1. Pasco County (21)
From 1999 to 2016, Pasco County had the highest overdose death rate (21) of any county in Florida. The county — which is situated close to Tampa and includes Dade City, Holiday, Hudson, Zephyrhills, New Port Richey and Land O’ Lakes — has had 7,806,291 total residents live in the region from 1999 to 2016, and 1,641 overdose deaths in the same time range. People who lived here during that time were 76 percent more likely to die of an overdose than the average U.S. citizen.