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20 "Pill Mills" aka PM Clinics shut down in S. FL

Aviatrix36440Aviatrix36440 Posts: 5,904
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Good News
Had to laugh and cry today! DEA and numerous other law enforcement agencies working in concert raided and shut down approximately 20 so called Pain Management Clinics that were deemed instead "Pill Mills" here in South Florida (Broward and Dade Counties). Aside from many arrests of alleged drug dealers, addicts etc., 5 doctors were also arrested. Breaks my heart, NOT!!!

I laughed and cried because one of these so called PM Clinics was one of the ones my GP's nurse tried to get me to start going to! I told him "Thanks, but no thanks", not interested in PM's in South Florida. Wow am I glad that my instincts I can still trust and follow!!! Whew!!

Thanks Pill Mills, you make me even more comfy filling my Oxy scripts at places like Walgreen's! Thanks for listening, had to vent and share. (G)

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.


  • you live a state where people go to retire so PM docs and funeral homes must be making good money. lol

    Not to mention that was one of the worst counties in the state for drugs. Isn't Miami right up there in the top 10 for drugs and dealers. You've got the whole Florida Keys where drugs come in then get distributed in your area.

    I used to be stationed down there and even back then the pot and coke was big time business. I think it was the number 1 import in the keys... ;-)

  • Graham,

    Even though not in my sixties of course, I had to join the 'retirees' club! (G) Be nice now! Lol!!

    In all seriousness..Remember I retired from working in narcotics interdiction, and man-o-man-o it can be bad down here! Nodding, the Keys haven't changed either. Fortunately for tourists, most of it if not aware is low key.

    As I stated in my initial post, I have zero interest in PM's down here - and when the very PM that my GP's assistant (nurse) tried to send me to was busted in this sweep, I just shook my head! Yesterday they got 22 more people in this sting. Doesn't break my heart an inch.

    They had one lady that filled her prescription that they stopped and searched....1000 10/325 percs! Who the hell needs that much in 30 days?!?! My God, almost fell off the bloody chair! Ridiculous!!

    There will be more taken down in the near future I am sure. Normally these sweeps go in 30 day waves, so we'll see. They changed the law down here that you had to be a resident of Florida to use these so called clinics, well we found that wasn't of course being followed. I know, big surprise...NOT!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I also read that the Governor decided not to go with a bill that was passed a couple of years ago that would make Florida the last state in the nation to finally put a triplicate prescription / electronic database record / etc., into place for controlled substances. As long as that type of record keeping is not in place, Florida is going to be the destination of choice for persons looking to obtain large amounts of CII and CIII drugs. They come from KY, TN, IN, OH, NC, etc, with MRI report in hand, see a pain management doctor, get their 600 oxycontin tablets, go home, sell half to pay expenses, and use the other half. Florida has a good start on a solution, they just need to put into action.

  • Mogradh,

    I put "sniff" because I vote for this Governor, and still stand by that vote, but when it was put out that he was canning the 'statewide' prescription medication link data base, I was bummed. That lets these abusing types go from ER to ER or PM to PM without their past 'activities' being known.

    I do understand the Governor not wanting to invade privacy, but certain drugs, and habits,...is that really privacy that we should be worried about? Honest folks for pain meds, most of us have no issue.

    I do agree, Florida is trying, and too trying to set a model. I just hope it continues. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I enjoyed an article on WTSP.com, Channel 10, Tampa Bay, around Feb. 9th. The last sentence of the article stated: "Laurie Serra helped fight to get the PDMP law passed and she believes the Governor's plans to ax it now are just dead wrong. "People are dying and we can't wait," she says. "I heard a quote that he said the program isn't working-Governor Scott, the program hasn't even started!"

  • They said similar down here. Basically they are saying we are losing upwards of 100 people a month in Florida due to accidental overdose. Of course, they didn't break it down from prescription vs illicit drugs! They let you infer!

    Gov. Scott stammered and stumbled when he was challenged on "why" he was not backing letting the database go into effect. He did the political "the economy" is why and the budget. Blah is what I say to that! The goal of that database was to not just "track" people to track them, but STOP the mutts that visit every ER for their fix, or more commonly, have 20 doctors (unknown to each other) prescribing to their so called pain.

    I hear it's not a done deal, so hopefully as more crack downs happen on these pill mills, he will see the light? I think nailing doctors hit more than the average drug abuser with people down here. We try not to see that any doctor would get involved in such a practice, but we all know they do. All professions have their greedy grubs, and doctors aren't immune!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I read that Florida had put a bill in place to limit the amount of controlled drugs dispensed from a doctor's office to 72 hours worth. That may be a start. I just don't understand why there is so much resistance to this bill. They complain about the problems, but then sit on their hands and do nothing. There are a lot of examples of databases/triplicate prescriptions/etc to study, but, just do something already.
  • Yes, that bill passed to my knowledge. PM clinics or ER's can only give you a 3 day supply, and then you have to follow up with your GP or other doctor as per the pain causes/needs. At least that is what they put out in the news a few weeks ago.

    The 'kicker'... if the PM clinic is also deemed "Pain management" vs just clinic, they can prescribe long term. Kind of a loop already in the law!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I think the difference between "pain clinic" and "pain management" is only that the first dispenses medicine directly from their office, while the other writes prescriptions for the patient to take to the pharmacy of their choice. This suppossedly limits the "fly by night" pain clinics from giving out huge amounts of opioids to questionable "patients". Again, it's a start.
  • Good that they stopped the dispensing from the clinics, also good that they knew what to close & what not to. Pain management is important to CP patients and it would be a travesty if they had closed them too, since many PCPs are sending their patients out for pain management.

    I always thought it was wrong that those clinics had you buy your medication right there (with cash) where the Dr. worked and not take your Rx to a pharmacy where you can use your insurance. That is wrong on many levels and something should have been done long ago. Waiting until now and blaming the patients, some of who know no better, when the State dropped the ball on this one. I realize that most of those patients do know better, but some I'm sure, did go there for real pain management. I wonder what will become of them, the ones in real pain. I imagine some will have a hard time finding a good Dr.with this in their charts.
  • I was never one to pay "onsite" for any medications because as you correctly put it, they don't take insurance. Why wouldn't I use my insurance, we all know what it costs!!

    As for the legitimate pain patients, I don't think they will have a big problem. Most of us are referred by our surgeons, specialists or GP's, and I am sure they watch the news! So hopefully the true patients will have contacted their referring doctor to go somewhere else.

    On the local news last night, they said that more raids are coming soon. I too am glad to see some of this, as I had to qualify to a really close friend why I take Oxycodone of all things! In the general publics eye, "Oxycodone" is the new Cocaine drug of abuse! Sigh...

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I ended up going to websites and watching videos about all this. I can't believe what's going on down there and glad they're cleaning up those pill mills. The only thing is I'm concerned about the "real" in pain people who are affected by all this and who can't get proper assistance for pain relief. I can't imagine not having Drs believe me and having to suffer in pain it would certainly have me wondering where to go to get some pain meds. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • charry said:
    I ended up going to websites and watching videos about all this. I can't believe what's going on down there and glad they're cleaning up those pill mills. The only thing is I'm concerned about the "real" in pain people who are affected by all this and who can't get proper assistance for pain relief. I can't imagine not having Drs believe me and having to suffer in pain it would certainly have me wondering where to go to get some pain meds. Charry
    Howdy Charry!!!

    I use to be involved in "ops" such as this before I retired. I too am glad to see they are FINALLY dealing with this fiasco! They are also nailing more corrupt doctors in this net. (yes!!!)

    Honestly Charry, I think that a true pain patient, with a good referring physician, they will be okay. This should weed out the mutts that abuse pain medications. As I mentioned (and normally I don't mention to ANYONE what I take), my best friend was freaked when she found I was on Oxycodone! The stigma is so bad down here.... I don't even take them daily, as nerve pain is my biggest. If I overdue, the mechanical kicks my butt!! Oxy mode then! She understands now, but to think I would have to quantify to more friends...nope, don't even mention it thanks to the news down here making Oxy as like....the new Cocaine?

    I do think the "true" pain patients will be fine. I just had to chuckle when one of these *cough* pain clinics popped...was one my GP's assistant tried to send me too!!! Rofla!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • This could have been me.I was at the point I was looking online for somewhere to buy Narcotics to help me deal with the pain. My Doctor Ignored me, I tried the Emergency room. I was near to overdosing on Motrin and Aleve every single day and it didn't touch the pain through out both of my legs.

    I started buying Vicodin from a Friend who had major medical problems.

    So I have been one of those people. I finally changed Doctors and found out that due to my Doctor Ignoring me I had developed Cauda Equina Syndrome. I had a Huge Herniation at T12 L1 and even had several pieces of the Disc Material free floating, central spinal stenosis and then some.

    So you see, sometimes those people. They arn't addicts. They are just regular people who can't take the pain any more. We need better screening for for Drug use. They need to be able to tell the difference between patients using low amounts to get by, and people popping 3-4x the dose to get high.
  • so npeople like us in chronic pain are not confused with those who are abusing pain meds, esp Oxycodone. Legitimate pain clinics should not be confused with pill mills either. I was watching CNN early this am and they did a segment about Prescription Abuse which covered the problem in FL and TN with pill mills. To me they sounded like they want do away with Oxycodone/oxycontin. Pharmaceutical companies marketed long acting meds like Oxycontin to be safer and less addictive but we know how things turned out. I was shocked to hear that more people OD from Oxycodone and other prescription drugs than from black tar heroin in the 70's and crack in the 80's, according to CNN.

  • A drug that combats the high a pain pill gives? Like equalizes it? If they could develop something like that and Administer it to Drug Addicts people would be more motivated to get off of Drugs.

    They already give drugs to Pedophiles to cause ED. Why not do something similar to Drug Abusers.

    Seems they would stop seeking if they couldnt get that high feeling from it.
  • As a Floridian gotta add my two cents. First up you have a unique insight here as having been on the job and now sadly as a CP patient.
    I voted for Scott and still support him.

    My PM doc has been a godsend not because he writes scripts but for the totality of the care and coordination he has provided me over the past 6.5 months.

    We have some serious drug issues in this state, sad but true! Reform is needed and I think the raids are a step in the right direction on these pill mills.

    I think it was Robin who mentioned the REAL patients who will be impacted by the closures. I feel for them I am sure there had to be some legit patients as you mentioned you yourself were referred to one of the raided mills. But I guess like any war there are innocent people who will suffer. :o ( Not fair but what in life is? This is a war on illegal drugs.

    Now I had NO clue that these clinics were also dispensing meds! Wow on cash basis no insurance I don't know but that just sounds like drug dealing to me! This is Florida we have no shortage of pharmacies! I have 2 CVS 4 Walgreens plus Walmart & other supermarket plus mom & pops within 5 miles! Maybe inland is different? ??? I'm in SW Florida!

    Don't know if you know this but when I was at my last PM appointment last week they had signs up everywhere, new law I think April 11 pain management doctors can NO LONGER call or fax in any RX whatsoever, nothing, nadda. .. not even antibiotics or steroids. Not sure how that helps as the drugs that are wanted/dealt on the streets always required a paper script. . So now if I somehow run out on my Soma or restoril or even my lidoderm patches, I have to make an appointment drive 20 miles each way & pay copay. So I just have to be more mindful of all my quantities.

    Hope you are feeling well today!

  • If dr cant call in script you will just find more people ending up in er in a lot of situations. Thats nothing but bs. There has been many times dr had to call or fax my script in when things got real bad. Maybe i dont want to move to florida anymore. I can just see after 20 years being treated for pain in illinois, they might just treat me like a drug addict once i ended up moving to florida by a clinic that dont know me from jack
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Howdy KymBerly,

    I'm sorry that your doctor ignored you - we hear that all the time, and it bites! Sadly, if I had been still working, I would have to judge you one way legally. I am retired, and the human side of me can fully understand your taking the route you had to take. Of course I am hoping you now have a new doctor, and they are listening to you and your needs?

    You do strike an important point though. "The difference between a legitimate pain patient vs the abuser for the high." Down here, the clinics that were shut down, they were Rxing over 6 months of narcotics at a shot! And too high mg levels at that! The legitimate clinics aren't being touched. A legitimate clinic doesn't dispense pills. The doctor at them gives you a script, you go to a pharmacy to get it filled.

    Our state is about to adopt a computer system that tracks prescriptions. This will reduce the doctor (for pill) shopping. What's sad is Miami is still the 'nose candy' capitol of the US! Oxycodone is now the target, and if on it (like me), there is a stigma with it - "Oh, your taking Oxy? Oh, you much be a druggy"... Drives me nuts. I don't tell anyone what I take anymore short of Lyrica. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I couldn't agree more! From what I know down here, taking down the "pill mills" is not taken lightly. They do run investigations for months to almost a year before they determine whether legit or not. I don't know the exact 'levels' that cause the red flags (DEA flags), but once those flag levels are met, a case is opened and the site is thoroughly investigated. Also too, agents go in as "patients" to see for themselves if indeed the said site is a pill mill or just a doctor over prescribing (to which they deal with that doctor if that is the case).

    My guess for the prescription over dosing? If the person is a recreational drug user, they are doing it for the high. If a person has been sick for a long period of time, they are depressed, and use the meds to stop the pain - sometimes permanently.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • KymBerly,

    Unfortunately as long as there have been humans, there have been those who 'seek the high' be it alcohol, drugs or things found in nature! If someone loves the high that much, they will find something that gives them that. I would love for them to take the buzzy feeling off my Oxy - I hate that feeling, and tend to take less because of it.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sorry for my delay, but overdid (cleaning and stuff) and was in bed for the last 24+ hours - will I ever learn? (G)

    Yes, the pill mill clinics down here were prescribing, and then dispensing vs going to the pharmacy - that is why I refused to go to one. I personally don't think the "legitimate" pain patient will suffer. There are plenty of true pain management places they can go to, or like me, my GP prescribes my pain medication - although my Neurologist is still trying to get me to go to a pain management doctor!

    You are correct. In Florida you have to physically take your prescription to the pharmacy. They can't fax or call it in. As an example of 'lack of understanding', my pharmacy (Walgreen's) wouldn't fill my Lyrica via fax!! My doctors assistant called them and cleared it up. Apparently the way the law was put out "any pain medication" has to have a hard copy prescription. It has been cleared up such that opiates and narcotics, not nerve pain meds "must" be via a had copy original prescription.

    One other change? They can't prescribe more than 30 days, and you have to physically see your doctor to get a new script - pain in the butt! From what I read of the law, it is to "make sure" that your doctor agrees your medical condition still needs pain treatment - exams, MRI's etc. I guess in some ways that is good.

    Another trend down here? Thieves instead of hitting stores for money, are hitting clinics and pharmacies for drugs - leaving the cash register alone! There's a sign of the times...

    Oh, and I too voted for Scott, and would still vote the same tomorrow. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • As I mentioned above, the reason is to make sure you see your doctor, confirms you still have a condition requiring pain medications. I don't totally care for it, but luckily, my doctor is close by.

    I won't be surprised if more states adopt similar policies when it comes to pain management and control. Sadly, as always a few mess it up for all!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Naloxone, a mu-opioid antagonist and K-opioid receptor agonist known as "Narcane," is used as an injection to reverse opiate overdose (from mu-opioid agonists like morphine and morphine derivatives as well as synthetics like darvocet, demerol, and fentanyl). Additionally, naloxone, considered to be clinically insignificant if used orally, because it is so poorly absorbed in digestion, decimated by "stomach acids" and other inhibitors of its bioavailability, can be paired with opioid analgesics (such as morphine, oxycodone, or the odd mixed agonist buprenorphine) but not alter the efficacy of the analgesic if used in its intended oral delivery system but serve to block all opiate effects if misused (ie insufflated or injected). Naltrexone, a similiar drug to Naloxone excepting that it is effective in oral form and used both for its dopaminergic effects as well as its antagonistic effects on mu-opioid receptors for recovering opiate addicts as a prophylactic measure and deterrent for other addicts since its block on the pleasure center renders drug and alcohol use and even behavioral issues completely anhedonic, thus supposedly reconditioning the recovering addict by negatively punishing addictive behavior ... although it is in fact punishing the patient constantly by blocking the pleasure center, as the naltrexone is in no way selective.
  • Brenda NO apologies sweetie for timing.

    You need to take it easy girl! Will you ever learn, nah... you just push yourself and test your waters every now and again. But please be careful. Hope you are feeling better seeing you are posting.
    Did you have your MRI??

    On to the topic, I am just shocked with what is going on here, I live here and had no clue that the doctors were filling RX. I havent heard of any of that in the Sarasota county area.

    Like I said that is just taking it from the street corner and putting a roof over it. That needs to be stopped! I am sorry, that just opens up the window of opportunity for this type of pill mill operation to just move down the road or up the street.

    I think I will call Rick Scott tomorrow and have a little chat with him! LOL :o)

    Brenda, can they authorize refills?? Seeing you mentioned the 30 day thing. I get 30 day say of my soma, but I will have seveal refills, do you know is that still allowed?? Seems like it would have been easier to just go the triplicate / electronic database way... dunno?? thinking out loud here.

    Alex, Florida is great! We are the sunshine state! One stop shopping too, see your doc & fill your script!
    Seriously, Alex I have a fab pain management doc here who is caring and honest. Just like every where you go, you got the good, the bad & the ugly... just saw that movie the other night, couldnt resit!
  • No Ms. Virginia, I won't learn - yep, keep testing the waters = too bad they bite me in the butt!! Rofla!!

    MRI's next week, and too blood work. We have a possible tropical system that is going to hit us Monday or Tuesday..a wee early. I have a feeling this will be a bad hurricane season! Funky weather, hot water temps etc. Sigh. (G)

    From what I know about the DEA down here, they will stay with it. They shut down another 10 pill mills this week, and arrested 3 more doctors - doctors with nefarious back grounds to boot! Breaks my heart - NOT!!

    As for Soma, I've never had it, so not sure. Is it an opiate or narcotic? It's a muscle relaxer right? If so, refills should be cool. I know I have to "go" to my doctor for my Oxy every 30 days - but (to my husbands grouchiness) I've not taken many of them - I hate the funky buzz...

    What bites is BCBS federal allows for 3 month supplies, but the state overrides. Sniff. I still had a little bit of Darvocet left, so I finished it - I was told since I had no negative affects, I could finish it. It just made me sleepy vs buzzy.

    Tell Gov. Scott I say Howdy!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for the Info.

    Eventually we will get to the point that Drugs that do not offer a Buzz will be available to us. Until then we will all have to keep fighting for our rights to Adequate Pain Management. I'm rooting for a Once a day Dissolve-able , pleasant tasting medication that works on all types of pain with Abso no side effects that has a built in Stool softner ;) I know I can dream right?

    Oh and Said Medication should cause Excruciating Pain and Vomiting to anyone with Illegal Drugs in their System, Hahaha Again I can dream.

    I'm a Little pissy today. Ive had 3 people ask me for a Pain Pill because I have them and they think they need them. Thats just in the last 24 Hours.

  • The law you are getting in Florida is the same law we have. To me it is no big deal. I carry my day timer with me make a appointment on the way out for less that 30 days for the opiod medication and do all the others same time. My dr does fill my scripts in his office, but I like them like that. The come in manufacture sealed bottles with foil still in place. Has the manufacture label on the bottle only my name and information is added to a separate tag they place on it. If we change my meds to something he doesn't have it will be sent to my home. Love that program no pharmacies or waits or anything. Now he doesn't take cash, but some people don't have insurance or maybe not met their deductible say like me sitting with a $7,000 a year one. So i do write a check to him or put it on my card at the time of the visit. But really that is no different than going to a drug store and doing it. Actually I think what he does takes a lot of confusion out of the mix. No prescriptions to alter. You have to be there every 30 days, you sign for the meds at the time you receive them. I don't even sign at the drug store agreeing i have the right meds. But there I look at the bottles and sense they are sealed manufacture bottles it is kind of simple.

    If you do have to use the pharmacy here most doctors can now all fax all scripts except certain classes of drugs. That works well to as the prescriptions are ready at the pick-up window by the time i get there. Now if it is a class you have to carry in, well it is the old fashion method. I will say all of my doctors are going to computer generated scripts on a special paper, so there is less issues with the scripts. Of course the real addicts will figure out how to get the paper like they do to make money.
  • I saw on the news about that tropical system in PR... geez, its not even May. Buckle up its gonna be a bumpy huricane season... I agree.

    Yes,Soma is a muscle relaxer. I called my PM to ask about the new restrictions and per them they can NOT fax or call in any script regardless of the class as he is a pain management doctor. You are right he can still use the refill option (for soma and such) on the hard copy scripts, so I am good with that.

    On my pain meds I see him monthly anyhow so no big deal, but I never had to watch my quantities of my other meds, as it was always a phone call away in the event that I thought I had a refill and did not... so just need to pay better attention.

    Gov Scott said howdy back at ya!
  • I love when I get the sealed bottle, not sure why, it just seems more clean, less hands toughing it. Walgreens often gives me my oxy in the sealed manafucture bottle and just add thier little lable sticking off of it.
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