Drug Dealers Find Ways to Get Around New Laws Aimed at “Pill Mills”

Drug dealers are finding ways to circumvent new laws aimed at closing down “pill mills,” USA Today reports.

Hundreds of people in Florida have tried to open pharmacies after the state banned doctors from dispensing opioids directly from their clinics, forcing patients to go to pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. Others have started operating in Georgia, according to law enforcement officials.

“Traffickers adapt to situations,” Mark Trouville, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) field offices in Florida, told the newspaper. “We knew once we put pressure on the pill mills, the wrong people would start opening pharmacies.”

In June 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill designed to cut down on prescription drug abuse by controlling “pill mills” in the state. The law authorized the creation of a prescription-drug monitoring database to reduce doctor-shopping by people looking to collect multiple painkiller prescriptions. The legislation also imposed new penalties for physicians who overprescribe medication and imposes stricter rules for operating pharmacies.

Since then, the number of Florida doctors who are among the nation’s top 100 oxycodone-buying physicians has dropped to 13 from 90 in 2010, according to DEA Special Agent David Melenkevitz.

The number of applications for non-chain pharmacies in Florida rose about 80 percent in 2011, to 381, from the previous year. Many applicants who are turned down in Florida try opening a pharmacy in Georgia, according to Rick Allen, Director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency. About 95 percent of new non-chain drugstore applications have a connection to Florida, he said. Barbara Heath of the DEA’s Atlanta field division said she expects North Carolina and Tennessee to be the next states to see “problem pharmacies.”

2 Responses to Drug Dealers Find Ways to Get Around New Laws Aimed at “Pill Mills”

  1. jeff | January 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    This is exactly one of the effects so many of us sounded the alarm for when it took effect.

    Those engaged in “pill mill” behavior are finding ways around the new laws. Therefore the net effect of the new laws is decreased patient privacy, many patients unwilling and/or afraid to seek appropriate pain medications because of being labeled (or even simply perceived) as a prescription addict, and many doctors afraid to adequately prescribe such medications due to being afraid of being labeled or misidentified by this new system.

    There are other ways to achieve the goal of less addictive behaviors than to sacrifice patient’s right to privacy or to delay or circumvent adequate and appropriate medical care.

  2. Dr. Barry Schecter | January 31, 2012 at 8:08 am

    If we know that there will always be an effort to stop use, those that want to use wll fnd a way. So very simply, I see 2 issues. The first is the crime problem. Smple solution; legalize all drugs. Just do the math, how much revenue is generated from beer, alcohol, cigarette tax, and how few prisoners do wsupport because of those choices? The second issue is the Drug Problem. That will be much more difficult to solve. I just realized, not one cadidate that I heard addressed this issue, obviously our president is happy with the status quo.
    Just think, no more Drug Cartels, No more Deaths, Maybe even revenue and no deficit. I used to watch numbers writers for years; now the state are the banks and bookies. Is t worse or better? During Prohibition, there might have been a downswing, butdid drinking alcohol stop? No! It strengthened organizrd crime, which we are doing again.

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