Florida is one of only a handful of states that does not have a prescription drug control program. Although this is scheduled to change in December, the booming pill mills stand to prescribe thousands if not millions of pills between now and then.
According to this report from The Crime Report, the state has over 1,000 pain management clinics, many of which are believed to supply prescription drugs to the illegal drug trade, whether unknowingly or otherwise. These “pill mills” as they have become known aren’t typically associated with any hospital or University, as the more reputable clinics are.
Dealing prescription pain medication has grown into a booming business over the past several years as American drug users are increasingly turning to pills to get a high. What may cost $5 per pill on a legitimate prescription, a user could pay up to $60 for on the street.
Workers in the black market trade enter a pain clinic with false medical history and even fake MRIs, requesting medicine for their pain. Once prescribed, they have the pills filled and turn over the goods to a larger dealer or deal the pills themselves. Many outfits come from out of state to take advantage of the lack of regulations in Florida.
Last fall, in Kentucky, arrest warrants were issued for over 500 people involved in trafficking prescription medications from Florida and into Kentucky. It was the largest operation in that state thus far though a spokesperson for the Kentucky State Police said it merely put a “small dent” in the larger problem.
The problem is these clinics are difficult to crack down on. While it may seem obvious that the clinic is practicing bad medicine, proving it can be difficult. Florida seems poised to make an attempt at controlling the problem, however, with a monitoring program set to kick off in December.
The state plans on doing more inspections of pain clinics and will be reviewing medical records to seek legal action, if necessary, against those that aren’t acting with integrity.
Although targeting the users and small time dealers doesn’t make a huge impact in the overall problem, police and prosecutors will continue to do that as well. Although the charges for prescription drug possession aren’t as serious as heroin, for instance, they can seriously impact your life.