Flood Warning issued July 24 at 10:42AM EDT expiring July 25 at 10:42AM EDT in effect for: Pasco
Five years ago, David and Roberta Rifkin were celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary when they received the news that broke their hearts.
Their youngest child, Emily, was dead from a prescription drug overdose.
It was the same year Florida began an aggressive crackdown on shady doctors and pill mills.
"I really wish there had been stricter laws like those to prevent Emily's death," said Roberta.
"If the laws had gone through earlier, yes, I believe Emily would still be here," David said.
Those feelings were re-enforced when they learned of a new CDC report that says Florida’s prescription drug deaths had dropped 23 percent since 2010, the year their daughter died.
Law enforcement in the Tampa Bay area was among the most aggressive in the state to crackdown.
"I think it is a very positive thing. Other states should look at what our legislature has done and enact the same type of laws," said David.
The state pushed for tougher regulation of pain clinics and monitoring programs. But local leaders went one step further. Tampa pushed and passed a city ordinance requiring the registration of pain management clinics, giving local law enforcement added oversight beyond state laws.
The local police and sheriff associations also pushed for drug monitoring programs.
It's too late for Emily, a 25-year-old honor student, but her parents now see hope for others
"Nothing will replace my daughter but knowing her death and the death of other people helped get these laws in place and helped law enforcement go after doctors and a pill mills is a plus, and I like to think that is a legacy for Emily," David said.