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The Pill Mill Epidemic

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What it is – How it works?

michelle

[By Michelle Peterman]

miche.peterman@gmail.com

People who are getting access to prescription medication illegally are on the rise, thanks to what the government and drug addiction specialists call “Pill Mills.”

The United States has a significant enough problem with people addicted to illegal substances, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines.

What Is A Pill Mill?

You may be asking yourself, “What’s A Pill Mill?” All over the US there are legitimate doctors and pain management centers that are in place to assist patients with managing pain. These centers take great care to make sure patients do not become addicted to their medications and will provide assistance if they do.

Unfortunately, there are pain management centers that operate as these “Pill Mills” and are glorified drug dealers. These people are as bad as the drug suppliers and traffickers who sell Heroin or Ice on the streets. Pill Mills will often have a walk in appointment policy, minimum record keeping methods, and armed guards. Other signs include accepting cash-only, no physical exams, and supplying patients with doses of narcotics that are over the authorized limits.

Many people who are legally prescribed medication may start self-medicating and become addicted, needing more and more drugs. These same individuals often turn to pill mills to gain access to prescriptions that more ethical doctors would not give them.

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pill mill

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Pill Mill Issues in Florida

It has been said that Florida is the epicenter of the pill mill industry. In 2010, as many as seven people were dying every day as a result of a prescription medication overdose in the State of Florida, and countless other deaths were occurring throughout The States. Authorities believed that Florida had become a haven for drug abusers and distributors to make huge profits in dispensing narcotics illegally.

In 2011, government took action and many pain management centers, medical practices, and clinics were raided. This happened in South Florida with the intention to crack down on the many “pill mills” that the authorities strongly suspected were prescribing Oxycodone in extremely high doses outside of controlled substance authority guidelines.

The authorities also found during their investigation that patients were recruited via the Internet. Six clinic owners and various other staff were indicted on charges that they conspired together to illegally supply patients with over 660,000 high and illegal doses of Oxycodone and collected over $22 million in profits.

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pill mill

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The DEA Wages War Against Pill Mills in the South

In 2010, Florida had over nine hundred registered pain management centers. As of January 2014, that number dropped to around three hundred and fifty clinics.

However, it seems that Georgia is now dealing with many of those businesses that fled Florida after stricter measures were implemented. Huffington Post reports that “The DEA is prosecuting pain clinic operators who used to do business in Florida and picked up and moved to Georgia immediately after Florida passed tougher restrictions in 2011.”

Moreover, just recently, Drug Enforcement Administration Raids ‘Pill Mills’ in Four Southern States, including Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Assessment

Prescription drug abuse has been declared a massive epidemic in the United States and yet another fight the authorities are trying to win. Tougher regulations and crackdowns from the DEA seem to be making a dent in this major issue.

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ABOUT

Michelle is a former communications associate who transitioned into building her own freelance business. She enjoys health and staying on top of the latest news.  Sitting by the beach is one of her favorite activities in her free time.

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3 Responses

  1. Prescribing pain medicine

    Most new physicians aren’t ready.

    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2015/06/prescribing-pain-medicine-most-new-physicians-arent-ready.html

    Nurse Sharon

    Like

  2. 68 Million Gabapentin Prescriptions Were Dispensed in 2017

    Quest Diagnostics recently released a report prescription drug misuse in the U.S. Here are some key findings on gabapentin from the report:

    • In 2017, gabapentin was the 10th most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S.
    • 68 million gabapentin prescriptions were dispensed in 2017, up from 44 million in 2013.
    • In 2017, 9.5% of patients tested showed evidence of non-prescribed gabapentin.
    • Among patients in substance use disorder treatment, misuse increased 800%.

    Source: Quest Diagnostics, September 2018

    Like

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