Florida leads the nation in the number of lethal pills prescribed by unscrupulous doctors. So called pill mills, set up in store fronts, are overprescribing potent drugs such as oxycodone. Thursday, Attorney General Pam Bondi launched a crackdown on over prescribers, but new rules to help shut down the operations have been delayed.
Store fronts like this one, in just two counties, Palm Beach and Broward, prescribed nine million pills in one six month period last year, prompting Attorney General Pam Bondi to create a four point plan to shut the shysters down. “Our state has become the destination for distributors and abusers, and we have got to stop it”.
Bondi brought together law enforcement and prosecutors to urge cooperation. On the panel, a Palm Beach mother, Karen Perry, who’s college age son overdosed on otherwise legal pain killers. “A parent never gets over the loss of a child. You just don’t.”
A database designed to keep track of who is prescribing what has been mired in a lack of funding and a contract dispute. Prosecutors are also being hampered by a delay in implementing new Board of Medicine regulations. Those rules would make it easier to shut down over prescribers’
A new law says lawmakers must review the rules first. Special counsel Dave Aronberg says the lax rules have created what he calls drug tourism. “There are more pain clinics in Broward County then there are McDonald’s in Broward County. Same thing in Palm Beach County. It shows you the extent of this problem.”
There are 1167 licensed pain clinics in Florida, with many of them apparently dispensing more pain than pain relief.
An average of seven people per day die in Florida from overdosing on otherwise legal drugs. Police says 38 active investigations are underway. The new rules, as well as new legislation, are expected to be approved by May.