Florida governor, Rick Scott, recently signed a bill being hailed as a big win over the so-called “pill mill” industry in his state. The piece of legislation is intended to tighten the rules for operating a pharmacy, increase penalties for doctors who overprescribe painkillers, and also authorizes a prescription drug monitoring data base. A few other highlights of the bill include:
- Police permitted to access clinic records without a search warrant.
- Doctors who overprescribe painkillers will incur a minimum fine of $10,000 and 6-month suspensions.
- Pharmacists charged with first-degree misdemeanors if they “knowingly fail” to alert authorities if someone attempts to fraudulently access drugs.
- Specific pain-management clinics must register with the state.
- Doctors must tell the state if they begin or stop working at pain-management clinics.
This legislation will save lives
Governor Scott expressed his ardor for the new bill saying, “This legislation will save lives in our state and it marks the beginning of the end of Florida’s infamous role as the nation’s Pill Mill Capital.”
The new bill comes just a month after an announcement from the Obama administration that the federal government will attempt to reduce abuse of opioids line oxycodone and others by 15 percent over five years through increased law enforcement, pill-tracking databases and education.
For years, Florida has been at the heart of prescription opioid abuse, so it’s encouraging to see the state take a stand against the epidemic. The federal government reported that a whopping 85 percent of all oxycodone – also known by the brand name OxyContin – sales take place in Florida. A large majority of painkillers sold in Florida are purchased by people out-of-state who illegally sell the pills on the black market.
Since the bill was signed into law there have already been raids on pain clinics and other establishments in Florida with connections to a “pill mill” investigation. One Orlando doctor was said to have written more prescriptions for oxycodone than were written for the entire state of California.
If you or anyone you know might be struggling with prescription painkiller addiction we encourage you to consult your medical professional. Feel free to contact us as well with any questions on treatment options or further guidance.