Following a statewide war against prescription drug abuse, there are early signs of growing heroin use in Florida as an alternative to opiate pills, which are becoming harder and more expensive to get, says the Miami Herald. In an analysis of drug-related deaths for 2011, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement flagged heroin as one of the year’s most harmful drugs. Heroin deaths statewide increased by 18.8 percent to 62, although the total still is much lower than than the 270 heroin deaths in 2001.
Still, experts say the recent increase is worrisome. Miami-Dade drug rehabilitation experts said they have seen a small increase in patients who have switched from oxycodone or other prescription drugs to heroin within the past year. The trend is the result of changes to state law and crackdowns by law enforcement in recent years, in an effort to rid South Florida of its status as the pill-mill capital of America.