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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / New Data Shows Decrease In Opioid Deaths In Palm Beach County

New Data Shows Decrease In Opioid Deaths In Palm Beach County


In late 2022, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Annual Medical Examiners Report was released, with interesting new data on drug deaths in the state. According to the report, opioid deaths in Palm Beach County decreased by approximately 15 percent, while the total numbers statewide were up around 5 percent. While more and more people are being given tools to combat addiction, incarceration is unfortunately the fate of many people who would benefit from drug treatment.

A History Of Opioid Use

Florida has had an opioid problem for some time, partly due to its geographical position, which can give smugglers from points south a place to make landfall in the United States. Usage and overdose death totals have remained high for years, though the totals have begun to go down for a variety of reasons – active law enforcement and the increased availability of addiction treatment being two of the most often cited.

Most opioids are classified as Schedule II drugs, meaning that they have some accepted medical uses, but also a high potential for abuse. Because of this, possession and usage of opioid drugs like oxycodone or Vicodin are strictly regulated – drug possession is seen as potentially dangerous not only to the person in question, but to society as a whole. If you are caught with opioids on your person and you lack a justification for having them, you will likely end up in hot water.

Potential Sentences Are Severe

If you are charged with possession of one or more opioids, it is crucial to take the charges seriously. Florida has mandatory minimum sentences for most drug crimes, meaning that even if your culpability may be much less than others involved in the alleged crime, you will be looking at a set prison sentence if you are convicted. The degree of a drug charge in Florida is determined by the drug involved, and the amount in question – a small amount of marijuana may lead to a citation, while a small amount of cocaine will usually lead to at least 3 years in prison.

It is important to keep in mind that even first-time offenders may face jail time in Florida, depending on the severity of their offense. Drug use and abuse is seen as so detrimental to society that law enforcement is disinclined to give alleged drug offenders the benefit of the doubt in all but the rarest cases. Florida counties do have what are known as drug courts, aimed at first-timers (though Palm Beach County’s program allows nonviolent repeat offenders in some cases), but the qualifications one must meet to be included are strict.

Call A West Palm Beach Drug Possession Attorney

While it remains to be seen whether the data for 2022 will show more or fewer opioid-related deaths, Florida will continue to aggressively police drug usage and possession. If you have been charged with an opioid-related offense, contacting a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help you retain some peace of mind. Call our office today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.



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