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DEA says 'pill mill' crackdown working in Florida

Florida's recent crackdown on prescription drug abuse, including a law passed by the Legislature last year to combat "pill mills," has led to a 97-percent decrease in the number of oxycodone pills prescribed by doctors in the state, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said.

The DEA also reported that Florida pharmacies purchased 14 percent less oxycodone in 2011.

That is a sharp contrast to 2010, when  90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians in the nation were located in Florida, according to the DEA. Only 13 Florida doctors made the last in 2011. Meanwhile, doctors purchasing oxycodone in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky increased in 2011, according to the agency.

Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill, who sponsored the "pill mill" legislation, said via a news release that he was proud of the strides made as a result of the new law.

“Florida was previously the nation’s capital for prescription drug abuse, but thanks to critical reform measures spearheaded by the Florida Legislature, prescription drug abuse continues to fall,” Schenck said.  “For too long, the lives of Floridians have been stolen by bad actors who profit from prescription drug abuse. I am pleased to see our legislation is helping to reduce the incidence of illegal prescription drug purchases around the state.”

The measure was approved by lawmakers on the last day of the 2011 session after last-minute compromises were reached. It tightened reporting requirements to a prescription drug monitoring database, bans most doctors on dispensing for prescription medications, and moved toward created a monthly dosage cap for pharmacies. The legislation also increased penalties for doctors or anyone found guilty of unlawful dispension, theft or failure to report the loss of controlled substances.


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Dave Craig

As a pharmacist who cares for cancer patients on a daily basis, I have become increasingly concerned that many of the efforts to reduce “pill mills” in the state have not only reduced the amount of oxycodone and other pain medications to those attempting to divert them, but it has also reduced the ability for legitimate patients (including cancer patients) to obtain them. For many people, its always good news when the DEA reports that there was a 14% reduction in the amount of oxycodone sold within the state, and I congratulate them on making strides to better regulate medical practice within the state. But for many patients, they are no longer able to manage their pain because the oxycodone they used to take is no longer available at their local pharmacy. It’s disconcerting to repeatedly hear the stories of patients having to drive up to 100 miles, or more in some cases, just to find adequate supplies of their pain medication either because their pharmacy is afraid to stock these medicines, or they are unable to order enough supplies from drug wholesalers. To me, this isn’t good news.

What we need is more balance in the news media, drug policies, and statewide law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing drug abuse within our state and our Nation so that we can ensure that appropriate medical treatments are available for all patients.

I recently wrote an op-ed, published in the St Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), on this very issue.

Greg Giordano

Statement by Senator Mike Fasano Regarding Drug Enforcement Agency’s Report on Pill Mill Crackdown

“I am most impressed with the report recently released by the Drug Enforcement Agency which shows that there has been a 97% decrease in oxycodone purchases by doctors in 2011 as compared to the previous year. The DEA’s report specifically credits passage of new laws in Florida for this extraordinary trend.

“We began working on this issue under Governor Jeb Bush and spent the greater part of 10 years creating the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, putting into place tough pain medicine regulations and putting pill mills out of business.

“Despite the opposition and objections of certain House members and the current executive branch, the tough laws passed in 2011 strengthened the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and prohibited the sale of narcotics from doctors offices. A special thanks goes to Attorney General Pam Bondi and others in the law enforcement community for their efforts to ensure that these dangerous drugs stay out of the hands of drug dealers, doctor shoppers and drug diverters.”

ronald bodnar

If d.e.a. had any brains they would just make it a law to have all the pharmacies except only people who have insurance.For one it would stop all the illegal pill stuff going on. Most people who have medical problems do not work.They are disabled and have insurance.Just like myself and others. It's not fair for us who really need the medication when it isn't around anymore.Of course if you can't get them anymore,Problem solved I don't think so!

John D.

I respect what the DEA is doing and government. But a close friend of mine who has caner said that the real criminals are the DEA, they put so much restrictions on these medications that they either forget or just dont care about those who need it do to health problems, I myself am one of those patients. I follow the law, I dont do anything illegal with my meds but yet I get punished along with every other legit patient because of the tight rules that these people are putting into effect. Its not right and not fair, I will pray for those people that they will never have to go thru what my close friend is going through or myself and everyone who is in REAL PAIN..God Bless.

Don Drain

onald, you are a scary dude. So as long as you get your pills, you dont care if anyone else does. Has it ever occured to you that 1- it takes 2 yr waiting period to get medicare? 2- if you are not able to work, you lose your insurance. So, if you had your way, everyone in this particular situation would not get any meds. I think they should pass a law that anyone who doesn't work should not get more than 30 a month. If they had less drugs, they would be motiviated to work. I think thats a good idea Ron. I am glad the DEA has brains. I wish you did too.

Don Drain

I got cut off. I said Ronald you are a scary dude. Not onald. Also, its accept, not except Ronald. And, denying anyone meds who do not have insurance would not stop illegal pill problems. IN fact to prove it to you, most state medicaid programs stopped paying for oxycontin. WHY? Because the patients were getting them at high cost to the state and selling them.

Don Drain

I am finished beating up on Ronald. Now for my post. ANY PROGRAM BY THE GOVERNMENT AT ANY LEVEL to interfere with patients ability to get meds is not good. I remember when I first got hurt in a helicopter crash, 1987. I got 30-50 tylenol 3 per month. I had almost 20 fractures including my neck c2, and back in 4 places. (thats 5 so I had 15 others). I had ribs, both arms, both legs in several places, and skull. I was in the hospital for over 5 months. 2 months in neurosurgical icu, then a med/surg floor for about a month, then a rehab hospital for 2-3. (Not rehab like drug rehab--rehab like learning how to walk, eat, talk rehab). I remember seeing the orthopedic surgeon and I said "the t3 dont cut it, I'm in so much pain." he said OK you can have vicodin. No c2's at all, no methadone, oxy/ms contin were not on the market yet, and it was very scary. I remember at about the 1 yr level them saying "you have to learn to live with it". WHy? they said the state will take my license, they have tried 5 times over the years. I got percocet, about 15 because I had some pins removed and it was so much better than the other. They absolutely would not give me them for more than a few days. It was back to the vicodin. My point is, that if the state/fed starts getting involved, we will find ourselves back to the draconian pain treatment. It is so much better than it was then and like the pharmacist said (FIRST POST==DAVE CRAIG), we need better balance. The media makes it sound so incredible. Police raided a motel and found 12 bottles of pills. All were legally prescribed. I saw this on Drug inc, where they hassled the person and made her out to be a monster and said "this time she had legal prescriptions and police were not able to arrest her", I saw them saying "why are you taking so many of these"?

The media at the direction of the government is sensationalizing this so that if it ever was on the ballot, I'm afraid people who dont know will just vote for any laws making some of these drugs illegal or legislation to limit the # of pills given or anything by the govt to intrude into the dr patient relationship is very scary. If the dr treats 5 addicts and 5 legit patients, so what. Its the cost of doing business. The cops are out there and they will be caught eventually but you cannot interefere with those who legitimately need the drugs. It cannot happen.


R.I.P LISA MARIE CARVER 5-11-88 TO 2-28-11 <3

I lost my sister because of the neglagence of a docter. The day i lost my sister i lost my life, my heart,and my soul. Everyday without her is another day i cant breath. My sister was not defined by her drug abuse as the state of florida saw her. I felt like they just treated her as another number another statistic. Like it was her fault she had a disease. You talk about cancer patients and hear their disease and for sum reason no one cares about this disease of the mind that took over my sister. What upsets me most of all is that the blame of my sisters overdose was all on her. No one wanted to take responsibility of the neglagence. Infact no one cared at all, she was just another junkie to them. I grew up in a tough home where you had no choice but to take care of yourself. Me and my sisters grew strong and defined. Lisa was not just another number she was an artist, she always put people before herslf, she never judged,she loved endlessly, she was always so happy and made everyone smile. Her biggest dreams were going to art school and sharing her drawings with the world that she put so much of her life into, and raiseing a family, she was just like anybody else but better because she saw the good in people. Even when they didnt want to see it in her. I hope that one day someone takes a stand and says enough is enough. I hope that one day someone cares.


Liers Dea are!
It does not matter when local and State law enforcement will not even investigate or prosecute dealers and pill mills . We can take you to a doctor that will max out your prescription when you slip him a news paper with $400 in it.and show you dealers and not one agency in Florida will lift a finger or even look into it. The only reason i can think of when the law will do nothing about it is they are somehow getting kickbacks for sitting on their hands.


We have contacted every agency about our local problems and not one specially in Marion county would do a thing. One reason is because some of the deputies know these dealers friends I guess and will not even check it out. But these same dealers can make a false phone call and have my brother arrested on a false charge and nothing is done to the real dealers. Tell your lies to someone who is stupid enough to believe them.

J  WillI

I guess is going to have to take someone who has nothing to lose
To shed blood.......pain is real.....don't blame innocent people like me for what drug abusers do.

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