Seizing on one of Florida's most pressing law enforcement and health challenges, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan on Friday will unveil what his office described as "sweeping legislation to crack down on phony pain management clinics."
Local governments, including Manatee County and the city of Bradenton, have tried to address the problem by establishing moratoriums and other measures to regulate pain management clinics. But a statewide effort has been slowed by Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to kill a statewide database designed to track prescriptions and purchases that was approved just last year by the Florida Legislature.
Scott's position has drawn fire from officials representing other states because Florida is home to the most "pill mills" in the United States and has "become known as a prime source of illegal prescription drugs in the eastern United States," a news release from Buchanan's office states.
At a forum earlier this week, Buchanan joined Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube and other law enforcement officials in calling on Scott to drop his opposition to the database.
Buchanan's office did not reveal details of his proposal, but the release announcing a news conference on Friday did list several points that highlight the magnitude of the prescription pill problem in Florida.
- Florida is home to 1,300 pill mills, most in the United States.
- Florida prescribes 10 times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined.
- Seven people die every day in Florida from prescription drug abuse.
- Florida has more pain clinics than McDonald’s restaurants.
- 22 Arrested and $2.5 Million seized in Florida pill mill raid last month.
Cross-posted at Political Watch.