Nearly two years ago, a post here discussed the growing problem of unregulated pain-management clinics, so-called “pill mills,” and how South Florida – Broward County in particular – was ground zero.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, overdose deaths from painkillers are rivaling the No. 1 killer, traffic accidents. It attributes much of the increase to the overuse of prescription opiates such as OxyContin and Vicodin. In Florida, deaths from prescription-drug use rose from 2,780 in 2006 to 3,750 in 2008 – more than cocaine, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.
You don’t even have to be a doctor to run a pain-management clinic. “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,” says Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.