More American tourists die from drugs in Florida than any other state

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – American visitors to Florida are 63% more likely to die from a drug overdose than visitors to all other states, according to researchers studying trends in the first two decades of the 2000s.

For the study, which was published in the journal Injury Prevention, researchers analyzed 47 million death certificates between 2003 and 2020. The report says the research began because of a belief that Florida has played a conspicuous role in the current U.S. drug epidemic. 

“Possibly in connection to two sets of events: (1) the overprescribing of controlled substances, and more recently, (2) the exploitation of patients’ insurance benefits by unscrupulous operators of substance use treatment facilities in Florida,” researchers wrote.

The findings aligned with researchers’ suspicions. Over the 18-year period, visitors to Florida were, on average, 63% more likely to die from a drug overdose compared to those in the rest of the nation. Digging deeper into the data, from 2014 to 2020, Palm Beach County witnessed a staggering 214% increase in drug overdose deaths among visitors compared to all other counties in the U.S.

Researchers note that these results suggest that regulatory policies in Florida may play a role in the drug-related deaths of people who live in other parts of the country.