Florida's Governor Rick Scott was in Fort Lauderdale Friday morning where he signed a new law aimed at controlling the state's "pill mills".
"Florida will shed its title as the Oxy Express," said Gov. Scott.
The law penalizes doctors who overprescribe painkillers, tightens rules for operating pharmacies and authorizes a prescription-drug monitoring database which should be operating by the end of August.
Florida is considered the epicenter of prescription drug abuse, with pain-management clinics supplying drug dealers and addicts with illicit prescription painkillers. The federal government says 85 percent of the powerful painkiller oxycodone is sold in Florida, much of it to people from out of state who then illegally resell the pills, primarily along the East Coast and Appalachia.
The Governor originally opposed the prescription-drug monitoring database, calling it a waste of money and an invasion of privacy. But Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi and several GOP legislators pushed for the database and Scott eventually agreed.
Back in February, DEA agents raided several pain clinics in Miami-Dade County and arrested 23 pain clinic owners and operators on charges of illegal pill sales.
This is the start of a much larger push to go after prescription pain clinics. Trafficking in prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam (Xanax), is one of the most serious criminal charges in the State of Florida.
If you or a loved one are facing trafficking charges or any prescription drug charge as a result of visiting a pain clinic, call me. I am a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.