U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to Tampa, Florida to announce the arrest of 22 people in Central Florida on charges of illegal prescription drug distribution. Five doctors and two pharmacists were among those who were arrested.
Fifteen other people were indicted in a conspiracy to illegally obtain controlled substances and transport them to Kentucky, according to the Associated Press.
Between 2005 and 2010, the number of oxycodone-related deaths in Florida increased by 345 percent, Holder noted in his speech. Last year, of the estimated 53 million oxycodone doses sold to medical practitioners in the United States, more than 85 percent were bought in Florida, he added.
“The days of easily acquiring these drugs from corrupt doctors and pharmacists is coming to an end,” Holder said. He announced a Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad is being created in Orlando to shut down “pill mills,” prescription forgery rings and illegal online pharmacies. These squads are already operating in 40 cities, including Tampa and Miami.