Pill Mills in Florida
And the Importance of the
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program(PDMP)
In 2009, the Florida Legislature passed bills in the House and Senate authorizing
the establishment of a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Florida is in trouble in the area of the illicit sale, distribution and use of
prescription drugs. Data that supports this stand:
1. The 2009 Reports of the South Florida and North Florida HIDTA (High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) identify this as a “significant threat.”
2. On average, 7 people die daily in Florida from the illicit use of prescription
drugs (Farlow & Martin 2010).
3. Florida is ranked number TWO in the nation for prescription drug abuse
In addition, there are some other indicators of the problem:
Rapid increase in number of pain clinics in South Florida
o As of April 2011, there were 115 pain clinics in Broward County
compared to 70 McDonalds restaurants
As of April 2009, all of the nation’s 50 top-selling “oxy” clinics were in
o Between June & December 2008, 6.6 million oxy pills were sold in
o Between June & December 2008, 1.8 million oxy pills were sold in
Palm Beach Co
Between Jan 08 and Jan 09, 70 new pain clinics opened in South Florida
and 48 were owned by investors (not doctors).
o Prior to the legislation passing, a convicted felon could open a pain
o Offer $25 gas cards or cash cards to “bring a new patient” to the
38 states had some kind of prescription drug monitoring program in place
as of this 2011 legislative session with several other states having pending
legislation, or monitoring programs in development (total of 44)*
o Because of the other states crack down, Florida had become the
dealer capital: people from other states would come to Florida,
purchase pills for $3-$4 per pill, and return to their home states
where the pills would sell for $10-$12 per pill.
The I-75 Corridor has been dubbed “The Oxy Express” because of So
Florida’s easy drug access & the transportation of the drugs up the
Most commonly abused prescription drugs:
o Opioids – to treat pain (ex: OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet)
o CNS (Central Nervous System) Depressants – to treat anxiety and
depression (ex: Mebaral, Nembutal, Valium, Xanax)
o Stimulants-to treat sleep disorder narcolepsy and ADHD (ex:
Dexedrine, Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta)
The cost of illicit prescription drugs to the Florida economy has been
estimated at $15B per year (Bohs & Sayed 2009).
The cost to the state for the program: -0-. Funded through grants and a
foundation created for this purpose.
Related items of interest:
Since previously there was no restriction on the number of pills patient
could purchase at one time, there are reports of patients receiving as
many as 700 oxys per month—a lethal dose.
Patients could go from clinic to clinic with no ability of a good provider
being able to track their patient’s receipt of prescriptions.
Clinics frequently close and reopen with slightly altered name days later.
Governor Scott earmarked $800,000 for a “task force” to deal with
enforcement issues related to the prescription drug issues.
*The additonal six states that do not have a prescription drug monitoring program: Alaska,
Kansas, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota and Wisconsin and one U.S. territory, Guam.