Florida distributed more than a half-billion doses of the pain drug oxycodone in 2009, twice as many as the next nearest state and up sharply from the previous year, newly obtained federal figures show.

According to a Florida Medical Examiners’ 2009 report, drugs that caused the most deaths in the state in that year included oxycodone (1,185) and hydrocodone (265). The report also shows a steady rise in the number of deaths due to the use of oxycodone from July 2008 through December 2009.

Jim Hall, director of the Center for the Study & Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University, said the new figures suggest that Florida cannot combat the pain drug problem solely by shutting down pill mills.

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