You may remember back in 2010 that “pill mills” - or prescription drug clinics - were considered an epidemic in Florida. People were traveling from out of state to come down to Florida to easily obtain prescriptions such as oxycodone, alprazolam (Xanax), and hydrocodone (Vicodin).
Back in 2010, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi declared war on these prescription drug clinics. As Florida lawmakers had enacted mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking offenses, requiring up to 25 years of day-for-day prison time just for being in possession of a certain amount of a controlled substance.
Since 2010, Attorney General Bondi’s heightened enforcement and prosecution of the owners, operators, and patrons of illegal prescription drug clinic has resulted in the drastic reduction in the number of pain clinics operating throughout the state.
While this stepped-up enforcement may have helped reduce the number of pain clinics, arrests for possession, sale, and trafficking in prescription drugs are still made statewide. In Miami-Dade and Broward, these cases are routinely filed and are handled by specialized prosecutors. With mandatory minimum sentences in place, even first-time offenders who had no intention of selling the drugs are facing serious prison time.
Trafficking in Florida is based on the weight of the drug in your possession. The possessor’s intent has NOTHING to do with the charge. If you are a drug addict hoarding large quantities of pills for your own consumption, you are considered a drug trafficker. Mandatory prison sentences range from 3 years on the very low end up to 25 years on the high end.
Eric Matheny is a Miami trafficking attorney and Broward trafficking attorney.