The City of Orlando continues to work hard to decrease the negative influence of pill mill pain clinics on the people of Central Florida. This week the Orlando City Council takes the first of two votes on a proposed city ordinance that would ban any new pain clinics from opening within the city limits over the next year. Orange County passed a similar ordinance at the end of 2010.
In addition to the moratorium on new clinic openings, the city’s ordinance goes a little further. It bans any pain clinics currently existing in the city from expanding either physically or moving to a larger space. Perhaps most importantly, the city’s ordinance restricts any pain clinic from operating as a “cash only” business.
Orlando city government knows that pill mills create several community problems. The Orlando Sentinel reported that prescription drug overdoses in Florida — often connected to pill mills — rose to 2,500 in 2009. Additionally, pill mills are thought to be connected with an increase in street drug traffic.
A recent Orlando Sentinel story documented a drug bust in Palm Bay where drug agents found thousands of tablets of prescription drugs. Drug agents said that the suspects were having prescriptions filled for oxycodone and other powerful drugs at pain clinics in Orlando and in South Florida — 120 tablets at-a-time. The suspects then bring the drugs back to Palm Bay and sell them on the streets. One of the suspected drug dealers told the newspaper reporter that he had done nothing wrong because his doctor had prescribed him the drugs he possessed.
As an Orlando prescription drug overdose attorney, I certainly applaud efforts by local governments in Central Florida to curb with the spread of wrongful deaths and criminal activity. Even one life lost to prescription drug overdose is too many.