Assessing Drug Policy Implementation

Editor’s Note: Last week, we ran a showcase of new research on new developments in drug law enforcement. Today, we’re highlighting some recent work that aims to assess the implementation and maintenance of such regimes in the United States. These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography compiled by Jonathon Erlen, which was formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but is now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

Assessing the effects of Florida’s anti-pill mill law on prescription drug related health outcomes

Author: Kinsell, Heidi Shoemake


Abstract: Prescription drug abuse and the related mortality and morbidity have been a particular problem in Florida. Over the past fifteen years, Florida became a major source of prescription drug diversion due primarily to the abundance of dishonest pain management clinics or “pill mills” operating in the state. Given that the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a widespread public health problem with consequences that extend beyond the individual, and it is essential that policies are based on data-driven evidence to be able to improve population health outcomes. Therefore, the goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness of multifactorial pain clinic legislation on mitigating the health consequences of prescription drug abuse. Analyses indicate that there was a greater decreasing trend over time in Florida after implementation of HB 7095, the anti-pill mill law for prescription drug related deaths and inpatient discharges for prescription drug poisonings. While small, there was also a slightly greater decreasing trend for prescription drug poisoning emergency department (ED) visits in Florida after implementation of the anti-pill mill law. Policy environments are extremely complex and always changing so a mixture of policy approaches may need to be considered.

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