Our Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg rigorously spoke to us at our February meeting about the terrible opioid crisis rocking our country, and specifically our local community in and around Delray Beach. Dave gave a professionally organized PowerPoint presentation that highlighted the challenges posed by big Pharma, criminals, lack of government regulation, Chinese complicit drug makers, and vulnerable people of all ages, ethnicities, and economic groups.
Pill mills that were rampant not long ago were shut down by State Attorney Aronberg and his team. This was a major exemplary achievement. We learned that pills obtained from pill mills killed 7 people each day. But this recent opioid epidemic has killed 14 people each day. Double the pill mill fiasco. Several drugs are responsible for these deaths, particularly oxycodone, and especially the time-release version, oxycontin. Perdue Pharma’s oxycontin product was increased from the original dose of 2 mg. with acetaminophen, to 160 mg. It was shamelessly marketed with hats and others novelty items. 80% of addicts started with prescriptions for pain. State Attorney Aronson has participated in a lawsuit against Perdue Pharma.
Heroin produced in China is often mixed with fentanyl, a powerful anesthetic used in surgery or even carfentanil, a drug used on elephants. These drugs kill.
The “lucky” ones who survive any of these drugs for awhile, lose almost everything in their pre-addicted lives. If addicted individuals enter rehab, insurance can pay. However, when the insurance runs out, these vulnerable folks must fight for a new life, trying to integrate into society by finding a place to live, a job, and new acquaintances. They often enter a sober home—a group home that is supposed to ease former addicts back into the community.
The problem with sober homes is that they are unregulated, making them ripe for major health and safety violations, and criminal manipulation. Aronberg has established a unique task force that has shut down these sober homes, and put these criminals in prison.
Delray Beach has the sharpest decrease in opioid deaths since State Attorney Aronberg has been on the case, and we are proud of him. But problems with lethal addictions persists. And the pursuit of addiction solutions continues.