This problem of "pill mills" and the abuse of prescription painkillers has become a major issue for Florida. This year, to help crackdown on this growing threat to our communities, the Legislature passed legislation to deal with the unscrupulous pain clinics around the state.
Pain clinics in South Florida attract patients from all over the country; more oxycodone is distributed in Florida than in any other state. The 50 doctors who dispense the most oxycodone in the entire country are all in Florida. A major factor contributing to these alarming statistics are Florida's "dispensing practitioners" who dispense drugs directly from their offices.
The legislation passed will prohibit such physicians from dispensing more than a 72-hour supply of controlled substances to a patient.
Violators of this new law will face a 3rd degree felony charge with up to 5 years in prison and or fines up to $5,000. The bill also prohibits physicians from the advertising or promoting the use, sale or dispensing of a controlled substance. The legislation also places greater regulations on pain clinics by requiring them to register with the Department of Health and submit to annual inspections. Violations of the regulations set forth in the new law will result in significant financial penalties.
Florida is known for many things- our attractions, our beautiful weather, and our beaches. We are doing our best to make sure we are no longer also known as the pill mill capital of the United States.