The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) released the Florida Medical Examiners Commission Report on Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Interim Report 2015. The report contains information compiled from autopsies performed by medical examiners across the state from January through June 2015. During that period there were approximately 100,189 deaths in Florida. Of those, 4,682 individuals were found to have died with one or more of the drugs specified in this report in their bodies. Total drug-related deaths increased by 13.9 percent (570 more) when compared with the first half of 2014.
The report indicates the five most frequently occurring drugs found in decedents were ethyl alcohol (2,288), all benzodiazepines (2,182 including 666 alprazolam deaths), cocaine (840), cannabinoids (785), and morphine (670). The drugs that caused the most deaths were benzodiazepines (558, including 281 alprazolam deaths), cocaine (441), morphine (387), ethyl alcohol (384), heroin (320), fentanyl (289) and oxycodone (274).
The six drugs where more than 50 percent of the deaths were caused by the drug when the drug was found, heroin (93.3 percent), fentanyl (72.8 percent), methadone (66.1 percent), morphine (57.8 percent), cocaine (52.5 percent), and oxycodone (52.2 percent).
With heroin continuing to be the most lethal drug named in this report, occurrences increased by 107.9 percent (178 more) and deaths caused by heroin also increased by 114.8 percent (171 more) compared to the first half of 2014; 94 percent of all heroin occurrences were in accidental deaths.
The report also indicates that prescription drugs continued to be found more often than illicit drugs in both lethal and non-lethal levels during the first part of this year. Prescription drugs account for 68.9 percent of all drug occurrences in this report when ethyl alcohol is excluded.