With arguably one of the worst prescription drug problems in the country, Florida has seen record numbers die from prescription drug overdoses. Despite this, according to a report from St. Petersburg Times, law enforcement struggles to cut off the prescription drug trade where it starts–with the physicians.
Delays and trivial penalties in the investigations of unscrupulous physicians has led to the booming problem of prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths. 5,887 people are said to have died in the state from prescription drug overdoses in the years from 2005 to 2009. This is more than three times the number of deaths from all other illegal drugs combined—a shocking number.
The DEA recognizes this problem often begins with physicians who freely prescribe medications to addicts but struggles to put a stopper in the flow of these narcotics when the same physicians are often back to writing prescriptions even after criminal charges, many as part of so-called “pill mills“.
Out of 200 prescribing physicians who were accused of inappropriately supplying people with pain meds, more than 25% still had licenses to practice medicine. Some of those that kept their license had even served time in prison for the offenses. Some traded prescriptions for sex and some were addicts themselves, this despite their credentials and reputations as professional people.
While it seems these doctors are nothing more than drug dealers with a degree on their wall, some point out that the physicians cannot control what a patient decides to do with their prescription once they leave the office. Without a “pain meter”, doctors are left to take the word of their patients when told they are in pain and need drugs for relief.
The Times article does a good job of explaining, in part, how the prescription drug trade has exploded over the years. Prescription drug companies apparently pushed physicians to begin prescribing their newest and most potent drugs in the 1990s, around the same time law enforcement began cracking down on their “war on drugs”. These two actions collided to bring about a new wave of legal, though addictive, drugs.
A middle class professional taking medication from a prescription bottle isn’t what most people think of when they hear the words “drug addict”. But if the number of overdose deaths is any indication of the addict population, the vast majority of drug addicts are far from the heroin junkies and crack heads that the media and entertainment world would have us believe.
You don’t have to be a strung out junkie to face drug charges. Now that the states are cracking down on the prescription drug trade, more and more regular people are winding up in court facing charges of possession or even possession with intent to distribute.
Sure, you may feel ashamed, that’s understandable. But when you are up against charges like this you have to hold your head up and handle your business. Contact our offices today to discuss your options and for some valuable free legal advice.