Federal agents and local law enforcement raided 11 pain clinics in South Florida Wednesday in the biggest operation yet against the illegal prescription pain pill industry.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, drug agents raided 11 pain clinics from Miami to West Palm Beach, arresting 23 people and seizing $2.5 million in cash.
The Sentinel noted that among those arrested were four physicians, including the son of Broward Medical Examiner Joshua Perper, and five owners of raided pain clinics.
The high volume of illegal sales of prescription pain medication in Florida moved former Gov. Charlie Crist to authorize in 2009 a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a “statewide, comprehensive electronic system to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.”
The Florida Medical Examiners’ 2009 report indicates that the drugs that caused the most deaths included Oxycodone (1,185) and Hydrocodone (265), two drugs categorized as pain killers. The report also shows a steady rise in the number of deaths due to the use of Oxycodone from July 2008 through December 2009. The 2008 medical examination report indicated that every day six people died from prescription drug overdoses.
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget contains a proposal to repeal the law authorizing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who supported the creation of the drug monitoring program, strongly opposes Scott’s proposal to undo the system.
The latest attempt to randomly drug test state employees in Florida hit a snag in a House appropriations committee today. The bill was voted down during the meeting, but was later reconsidered and then temporarily postponed — effectively squandering its chances of passing this session.