The Pill Mill Crisis in Sarasota (and Nationwide)
When most of us think of Sarasota, we envision white sandy beaches, teal waters and sunny skies. However, there is a dark cloud the glooms over this vibrant town, graying the days for those that suffer from prescription drug addiction and friends and family who have lost loved ones due to prescription drug overdose.
Drugs and Deaths
In 2012, there were 8,330 accounted drug-related deaths in Sarasota. That’s over 22 deaths per day. Since prescription drugs are readily available and easy to access, prescription drug overdose can happen to anyone. Brandi Shea Meshad, a smart young women from a loving and supportive family, become a symbol that this can happen to anyone. It starts with a small little pill that helps you sleep through the pain from acute injury, but quickly turns into a deadly uncontrollable demise.
In her journal Brandi wrote, “Addiction, it isn’t any ordinary monster. It’s like a giant octopus, weaving its tentacles not just around you but through you, squeezing not hard enough to kill you, but enough to keep you from feeling until you try to get away. Try, and you hunger for its grasping clutch, the way its tendrils pop you up, your need intensifying exponentially every minute you refuse to admit its being.”
In general, people are under the misconception that prescription drugs are safe to use because they are monitored by physicians, but that is not the truth. In most cases, individuals do not begin consuming prescription drugs with intentions of becoming abusers or addicts. Sometimes, it trends from a pill that a friend gave a friend. Adolescent girls tend to help each other when coping with menstruation pain, body image disorders, depression and anxiety without knowing how. When a friend is in pain, if you have a magic pill that will help take the pain away, you give it to her. Hence, it is no surprise that prescription drug abuse is so prominent among female teens.
In Florida, there are over 170 pill mills dotting the state with doctors reaping huge financial benefits. Although we could fault doctors, drugs dealers and law enforcement, the best course of action we can take for our children is support and education.
At Brandi’s Wish our mission is to see that every teen has the opportunity to live a drug free life through education and empowerment. Help us fight the war against prescription drug abuse by attending our Annual Tennis Tournament on October 17-19th at Longboat Key Club.