To understand where the state of Florida is concerning their prescription drug laws, you must first understand how they got there. In the late 1990’s, OxyContin came on the scene. It was an inexpensive pain medication that doctors were thrilled to have access to treat patients. This medication was marketed to the doctors as a less-addictive pain medication than anything on the market. It worked beautifully, and it gave the patient a feeling of well-being that seemed to change their world. The doctors were told (and shared it with the patients) that if you had real pain, you could not get addicted to this opioid. This proved to be inaccurate and deadly.
Soon people with legitimate issues became addicted to the cure, and the quantity needed to keep them pain-free increased. Unscrupulous doctors and businessmen soon jumped on this opportunity, and “pain clinics” began springing up all over the state. As the OxyContin / Hydrocodone epidemic took hold, people from other states traveled to Florida in carloads to take advantage of “doctors’ who would write them anything they wanted for cash. According to our drug crimes attorneys, this earned Florida the nickname “Prescription Capitol of the World” and the Florida highways were called the “Oxy-express.”
Putting Out the Fire
With drug addiction out of control, and deaths from overdose skyrocketing, the state of Florida soon began to put a stop to the madness. In 2010, they began closing pill mills and pulling the licenses of doctors who were over prescribing these drugs. Drug stores that were allowing too many of the medications to be given out were penalized and in some cases, shut down. They began limiting the quantities the drug stores could keep on hand, and they began changing laws.
The DEA put into effect a National Database that would record every time these medications were prescribed and every time a person got them This assisted them in stopping the addict that was getting prescriptions from more than one doctor to get the qualities they needed to support their habit.
Over these past few years, they have adjusted these regulations several times. Currently, there are laws that:
- Limit the number of drugs a doctor can prescribe.
- Makes sure the prescriptions are typed or legible, including the date and quantity.
- Require that a patient visit the doctor and receive their prescription (no electronic refills).
- Changed the classification of many drugs to make them more difficult to get from doctors.
- Lowered the standards on these drugs to make them fit easily into drug trafficking charges.
There are many other prescription drug laws in Florida designed to protect the public, and in the first year of the crackdown, deaths went down 17%.
Of course, our drug crimes attorneys know there is always another side to the story. Chronic pain sufferers have a very difficult time getting the drugs they need to maintain their quality of life, and the regulations they have to adhere to are difficult. Many addicts that could no longer get their prescription drugs turned to illegal drugs such as heroin to sustain their habit. It would seem there is more work to do.
For more information, consult a drug crimes attorney.