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Apr-17-2010 20:11TweetFollow @OregonNews
Time for Florida to Boot the Pill MillsMarianne Skolek Salem-News.com
"It's time to tell southern Florida state lawmakers and the 'pill mills' they allow to stay in business -- to get out of Dodge -- We're taking back our state."
(FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.) - State lawmakers in southern Florida have given the "green light" to pill mills to hand out mega quantities of painkillers to those seeking them and have dropped plans to prohibit pain management clinics from dispensing more than a 72-hour supply of medication.
Lobbyists for the medical industry forced the change in legislation drawn up to bring an end to the area’s reputation as the center of the nation’s pill mill business.
The maneuver has shocked local officials who have sought reform.
Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, a former state representative long critical of the Republican-controlled Legislature, said lawmakers have gutted the bill. At a meeting this week with other commissioners, Ritter charged that the Legislature had “bowed to an altar of gold” by giving in to medical industry demands.
Ritter said that little would change in the runaway business of pain management clinics unless the state limits prescriptions, restricts advertising and pays for a prescription registry database. “Like much of what they do, all they have done here is feel good so they can come out and tell their constituents about all the great things they’ve done when they’ve really done nothing,” Ritter said. “If you aren’t limiting the ability of these pain clinics to dispense medicine, you aren’t doing anything to solve the problem.”
The Broward County Grand Jury issued a "damning" 70 page report on the "Proliferation of Pain Clinics in South Florida" (link provided below) in November 2009.
The conclusion of the report shows that "In the past 2 years the number of pain clinics in South Florida mushroomed from 4 to 176, dumping 9 million dose units of Oxycodone in our community every 6 months. Although the pain clinics originated in Broward County, they have spread north quickly throughout the rest of Florida, particularly in the major metropolitan areas.
With the enactment of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the legislation that provides the medical licensing boards with authority to regulate the pain clinics, there is hope that the legislation will effectively eliminate doctor shopping once the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is implemented and the medical licensing boards set rules and standards of practice for the pain clinics and the doctors who work at the clinics.
While obviously not all pain clinics are Pill Mills, Pill Mills are a true danger whose harms will be affecting our communities long into the future in ways unbeknownst to us. With the implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, our community should see the eradication of Pill Mills and the further emergence of pain medicine that truly addresses patients’ ailments."
Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said he also saw a 72-hour limit on prescriptions as a critical part of controlling prescription drug abuse in the area.
Lamberti noted that the Sheriff’s Office has found pain clinic doctors writing prescriptions for up to 300 pills – enough of a supply to last five months. He said that encourages abuse and is responsible for out-of-state residents coming here for pain medicine.
“We can’t continue to drag our feet because the problem is getting worse and something must be done,” Lamberti said. “Doing nothing is not an acceptable option.”
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, more than 1 million tablets of OxyContin, one of the most powerful and dangerous painkillers on the market are prescribed every month in Broward. Also, the agency reports that 38 of the 50 doctors who most prescribe OxyContin in the United State are located in Broward.
Sheriff Al Lamberti says. "You need a background check to get a liquor license — you can't be a convicted felon and open up a bar — but you can be a convicted felon and open up a pain clinic." It is not required to be a doctor to run a pain management clinic.
I have a suggestion for the residents of southern Florida -- your legislators have failed you badly -- you have to send a message that you will not sit back and let "pill mills" take over your communities. It's time to tell them loud and clear -- "Get out of Dodge." You need a "Marshall Dillon" to clean up your state. Contact Sheriff Al Lamberti at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 765-4321.
Tell Sheriff Lamberti that you want to close down these "pill mills" once and for all and ask what you can do to help him accomplish this goal.
And then at your next election, get rid of the politicians who bow down to lobbyists in the medical industry -- and have no concern for the lives of the people they represent.
It's time for southern Florida to take "Dodge" back from the pill mills with "Marshall Dillon's" help.
Salem-News.com Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.
Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
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