With the state's new law targeting pill mills in full effect, Attorney General Pam Bondi joined Broward County law enforcement officers Tuesday during inspections of doctors offices to ensure prescription narcotics are no longer being dispensed and current inventory is being properly disposed of. Bondi has made fighting the state's prescription drug abuse epidemic a top priority.
Under the new law, which Bondi fought hard for, most physicians can't dispense OxyContin and other powerful pain medications that are responsible for at least seven deaths a day in Florida. Easy access to such drugs in the state have made Florida a destination for drug abusers and dealers from other states.
"We want people to visit Broward County for our beaches, for our weather. Not our one-stop drug shops," said Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti at a news conference. About 40,000 pills were taken off the streets of Broward County on Tuesday, he said.
The Florida Department of Health, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Florida’s Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Forces, created by Gov. Rick Scott, visited doctors' offices across the state to ensure compliance with HB 7095, Florida’s new prescription drug law.
"We saw lots of pills being seized today," Bondi said. "Law enforcement is not going to let up."
Inspections occurred at the offices of 23 physicians, 14 of them in the Miami area. Law enforcement officers visited the offices of three physicians in the Tampa Bay area.
"Today wasn’t the end. Today was pretty much day one," said Keith Kameg, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Passage of the HB 7095 was contentious in the 2011 legislative session, with the Senate and House disagreeing on the fate of a prescription drug monitoring database (it remains in place). Also controversial: Limitations on which pharmacies can dispense the drugs and how much they can dispense. Lawmakers will likely revisit that issue in the 2012 session.