Pill mills a problem, Bondi says

Keith Loria Feb. 7, 2011, 3:17pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi unveiled a new strategy on Thursday that she says addresses the increase in pill mills throughout the state.

Pill mills are pain management clinics that allegedly attract drug abusers. The clinics commonly accept only cash payments, don't take appointments, keep few, if any, medical records and prescribe excessive doses of medications.

Florida currently leads the nation in diverted prescription drugs because of the numerous pill mills operating in the state, Bondi says.

Bondi's proposal would provide enforcement and enhanced tools to look into and prosecute pill mills and crack down on doctors that engage in drug trafficking.

"Our state needs a unified effort at every level to eradicate Florida's pill mills," Bondi said. "We are working with state and local law enforcement, as well as our federal partners, to curtail the dangerous dispensing and abuse of prescription drugs."

Bondi's suggestions include legislative recommendations for the upcoming legislative session, including enacting a mandatory six month suspension and fining any doctor $10,000 for violating state standards of care when prescribing controlled substances.

Bondi is also seeking a third-degree felony for any entity fraudulently registering as a pain clinic.

Another recommendation would make it a criminal penalty for any doctor who doesn't perform a physical exam before dispensing 72 hours worth of controlled substances. She seeks a second degree misdemeanor charge for the first offense, a first degree misdemeanor for the second offense and a third degree felony for the third offense.

The attorney general also seeks to make it a requirement for anyone who maintains an inventory of a controlled substance to report all thefts to the FDLE or local law enforcements within 48 hours of the controlled substance going missing. Administrative penalties and fines would be given if this is not done.

Bondi also outlined the need for tougher administrative enforcement on pain clinics and doctors. She hopes for an increase on criminal prosecution through partnerships between the office of Statewide Prosecution and state attorneys in high drug-trafficking areas and seeks long-term prevention strategies such as drug takebacks and drug courts.

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