Republican Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi today named former state Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Democrat from Green Acres, to a newly created post in her office focusing on prescription pill abuse. "He’s very familiar with this issue. He cares very deeply about this issue," Bondi, a Republican, said of Aronberg, who made a failed bid to become attorney general, losing the Democratic primary.The fact that he’s a Democrat, she said, doesn’t matter."What I want to do is bring people together on all sides who all care about the issue," she said.
Aronberg will be based in south Florida and earn $92,000 a year as special counsel for the pill mill initiative. Shortly after her election, Bondi signalled she planned to make pain clinics that excessively dole out prescription drugs — so-called pill mills — a focus of her office. She set up a transition team that included Aronberg to examine the problem. "We’re at a critical point in our state regarding the number of pill mills. The numbers are staggering. We’ve got to do something to stop it," Bondi said. "Just the other day I had someone say that a friend’s child overdosed. I said, ‘It was Oxycontin, wasn’t it?’ They said, ‘How did you know?’ It’s so widespread in our state. That’s something we don’t want to be known for."
Bondi’s move is likely to come as good news to people concerned that Gov.-elect Rick Scott opted to cut the Office of Drug Control from his administration. Bondi said she will likely push for legislation to tighten Florida’s rules regulating pain clinics.
Aronberg served in the Florida Senate from 2002 until 2010 where he was advocated for legislation to establish a prescription drug database and to more strictly regulate the ownership and operation of pain clinics.
"After getting to know Dave last year, I quickly learned that we share a strong commitment to shutting down pill mills. I have complete trust in Dave's ability to take on this very important fight with me," Bondi said in a prepared statement, "It is unacceptable that Florida has become the nation's pill mill capital and that multiple Floridians are dying every day from illegal prescription drug abuse. In cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement, we will use all the powers and resources of the Attorney General's Office in a comprehensive effort to eradicate pill mills from our state."