State agents seized over 105,000 leftover pills from Florida pain clinics that are no longer permitted to sell them under a new state law. Effective on July 1, addictive painkillers may no longer be sold by most doctors and all pain clinics. Under the new law, doctors must write prescriptions for narcotics and they must be picked up at a pharmacy. Authorities said that in this sweep alone they collected more than 48,000 pills in South Florida, 52,000 around Orlando, and 5,000 pills elsewhere in the state. Pain clinics and doctors were given the choice to return the drugs to their distributor, or hand the inventory over to law enforcement officers.
Astoundingly, 90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians in the nation last year were from Florida, and 85 percent of all the oxycodone-dispensed by physicians in the United States was by Florida doctors. Emergency room visits from prescription drug overdoses doubled from 2004 to 2009, topping 1.2 million. More overdose deaths are connected to prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined. It is estimated that seven Florida residents die each day from prescription drug overdose.
Governor Rick Scott called the epidemic the “scourge of our state” and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi commented that “Florida will not be known as the pill mill capital of the world.” Furthermore, Bondi stressed that clinics and doctors “are going to be complying with the law, or they are going to be out of business.” This spring Florida legislators and Governor Rick Scott passed the comprehensive “pill mill law” which forces pills to be prescribed and picked up at a pharmacy, provides penalties for doctors who overprescribe Oxycodone and other painkillers, prevents pain clinics from advertising, creates new regulations for pharmacies, establishes a prescription-drug monitoring database, and provides $3 to support prescription drug law enforcement efforts.
This law and subsequent crackdown on Florida’s “pill mills” will put the responsibility on doctors to help control prescription drug abuse. Many doctors have previously been caught inappropriately prescribing controlled substances in excessive or inappropriate quantities, which amounts to medical malpractice. Many Florida residents have been victims of doctors’ offices where physical examinations were not performed and controlled substances were prescribed in excessive dosages and potentially fatal combinations.
If you or a family member has been prescribed powerful painkillers and has experienced an injury or overdose, you may be entitled to file a claim with a medical malpractice attorney to receive compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Contact us today.