Highest Concentration Of Pill Mills Are In Florida
After federal agents received a call on their tip line from a concerned pharmacist reporting suspicious prescriptions, federal agents went to work, eventually identifying 45 South Florida residents allegedly responsible for lining the streets with prescription pills and selling them for at least $20 a pop.
Seventeen of those named in the indictment, which is being prosecuted by the Palm Beach County State’s Attorney’s Office, were arrested Thursday throughout the county.
In addition to the 17 arrests, DEA agents working with other law enforcement agencies, including the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, picked up one gun, about 2 pounds of cocaine and around $7,000 in cash.
The “Drug Scam Operation” had been in the works for 18 months after a Boynton Beach pharmacist in August 2011 called the DEA’s “pill mill” tip line and reported suspicions of prescription fraud.
The four leaders would sell each pill of oxycodone or Percocet for at least $20 on the streets. A bottle of 180 pills would net a profit of about $3,000.
The defendants face charges of trafficking in oxycodone and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
What are Pill Mills?
A “pill mill” is a doctor’s office, clinic, or health care facility that routinely conspires in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances outside the scope of the prevailing standards of medical practice in the community or violates the laws of the state of Florida regarding the prescribing or dispensing of controlled prescription drugs.
How Does It Work?
“Pill mill” clinics come in ‘all shapes and sizes’ but investigators say more and more are being disguised as independent pain-management centers. They tend to open and shut down quickly in order to evade law enforcement. Although the problem is nationwide with recent arrests in New York, Ohio, and Chicago, Drug Enforcement Administration officials believe the highest concentration of pill mills are in Florida and Texas.
- Accept cash only
- No physical exam is given
- No medical records or x-rays are needed
- You get to pick your own medicine, no questions asked
- You are directed to “their” pharmacy
- They treat pain with pills only
- You get a set number of pills and they tell you a specific date to come back for more
- They have security guards
- There may be huge crowds of people waiting to see the doctor
Florida leads the nation in diverted prescription drugs, resulting in seven Floridians dying every day and countless others throughout the nation. Our state has become the destination for distributors and abusers through the proliferation of pill mills.
While legitimate pain-management clinics do exist to serve those with chronic pain or terminal illness, other unscrupulous clinics, called pill mills, merely serve as drug traffickers. Common characteristics of pill mills include: cash-only/no insurance; no appointments; armed guards; little or no medical records; grossly inadequate physical examinations; and large prescription doses of narcotics that exceed the boundaries of acceptable medical care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared prescription drug abuse an epidemic in America.
Florida is the epicenter of prescription drug diversion because – until recently – our state had weak regulatory oversight of pain management practices, limited oversight of physician dispensing habits, and no statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
In Florida, pharmaceutical drug diversion means an average of more than seven dead a day to prescription drug overdose. As of February 2012, there were 580 registered pain management clinics in Florida, down from more than 900 the year prior.
Florida’s dubious distinction as the ‘epicenter’ of the nation’s ‘pill mill’ epidemic was solidified in 2010 when DEA’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) reported that 90 of the top 100 oxycodone purchasing physicians in the nation were located in Florida.
When alcohol is excluded, prescription drugs accounted for 81% of all drug occurrences in Florida’s 2010 Medical Examiner’s Report.
West Palm Beach Oxycodone Charges Attorney
Oxycodone is a powerful and addictive pain medication that is often abused as recreation. Oxycodone charges include possession of Oxycodone, drug trafficking, racketeering and prescription fraud. These may lead to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years or longer, as well as fines and a criminal record that haunts you the rest of your life.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida, our defense team has many years representing clients charged with drug crimes. We have a thorough understanding of Florida laws and how to apply them to your unique case. Contact our firm to discuss your case in a free initial consultation.
Many Oxycodone offense cases involve false allegations. The police may notice the medication during a routine traffic stop and charge you with possession. If the amount of Oxycodone is over four grams, the police can charge you with drug trafficking. However, neither of these are valid allegations if you have a prescription for the medication or the pills were left over from a former prescription. If you have a prescription, having possession of the drugs is legal.
The law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., is involved in many high profile criminal cases throughout Florida. One of our cases involved a doctor charged with racketeering and administering Oxycodone, Methodone and Roxicodone unlawfully. By being proactive, we can often resolve these cases in our clients’ favor.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300 Se habla español.