Thanks to lax regulations covering pain clinics, Florida's prescription drug trade continues to run rampant and attract out-of-state buyers and traffickers with wads of cash to buy oxycodone and other narcotics.
The Sunshine State's reputation as a safe place to purchase bushels of painkillers by both doctor shopping and presenting bogus medical claims has lasted too long. Florida should join the more than three dozen other states that regulate pain clinics — and will once Gov. Charlie Crist signs legislation that clamps down on the so-called pill mills.
The opening of a pain clinic on Manatee Avenue West brings the issue to a boil here, inspiring protesters to picket the site last week.
The Bradenton City Council is getting ahead of the problem by pushing forward on a moratorium on new clinics before the epidemic spreads further — a frightening but possible scenario, given the recent explosion of clinics elsewhere.
To date, South Florida and Tampa have led the state in pill-dispensing pain clinics. In an April special investigation, the Miami Herald reported South Florida gained 90 pain clinics in the previous year, soaring from 60 to 150, according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates. The Tampa Bay area ranks second on the DEA’s list. With Manatee County a short drive away, we’re at risk of catching this plague.
Certainly there are many legitimate pain clinics serving patients with chronic pain from injuries, arthritis and other conditions.
But more oxycodone is sold in Florida than any other state. Some clinics dispense millions of pills a month in this lucrative trade.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Bradenton Herald.