HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – New data from the Drug Enforcement Agency details Florida’s part in the opioid crisis. The database was published by the Washington Post tracks nearly 380-million opioid transactions from 2006 – 2012.
Tampa alone received 410 million pills during the 7-year time frame.
“The shock and surprise really comes from the fact that there’s a federal law that requires drug distributors to alert the DEA when there’s an unusual quantity of drugs going to a certain area, and yet these drug companies ignored it,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.
Aronberg started the fight against the opioid epidemic back in 2001 and says the companies behind this crisis ignored the risks for greed.
“They paid lip service to their legal requirements under the law, and that’s why they need to be held accountable. This is an epidemic that was totally preventable, it was never inevitable. That was man-made and years in the making,” said Aronberg.
According to the new data, across the Tampa Bay area, which includes seven counties, there is more opioids per person than the national average.
“Too many families suffer because of their malfeasance, because of their professional greed, and they need to be held accountable for it,” added Aronberg.
Last year, then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a lawsuit against more than eight opioid distributors, including CVS and Walgreens.
Florida also became one of two dozen states that passed laws related to opioid prescriptions.