Despite Florida's reputation as the "Pill Mill of the South,"
Governor Rick Scott has begun efforts to repeal the prescription drug monitoring program. The program's prescription database has been hailed as the best tool available to law enforcement to thwart doctor shopping.
"Doctor Shopping" occurs when a patient visits a medical practitioner in an effort to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance, and fails to disclose to that doctor that they have already obtained a similar prescription from a different practitioner. Doctor Shoppers sometimes resort to prescription fraud and selling the controlled substance on the street. These individuals often unknowingly run the risk of being charged with felony drug possession and drug trafficking. See also: "Drug Trafficking in Florida...a crime you thought you understood."
Given the death of seven Floridians a day from prescription drug overdose, much pressure has been placed on shutting down pill mills and prosecuting doctors who unethically prescribe oxycodone to patients who lack a legitimate medical need. See also: "No more pain clinics." Such efforts appear to be having some affect on the illicit marketplace. Those people suffering from addiction to oxycodone are facing new challenges to securing the drug in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area.
Consider these developments:
- A new law that went into affect this past October that prohibits pain clinics from dispensing more than a three day supply of oxycodone;
Some legitimate pain clinics are running criminal background checks on their patients;
- Many pharmacists are discontinuing the sale of oxycodone for fear of customer abuse and the rising threat of drug store robberies. (During 2008 - 2010 the sunshine state logged more than 1,800 drug store robberies);
- Even those reputable pharmacies that are still dispensing the drug have had their supplies cut because the DEA has been scrutinizing manufacturers and distributors. These companies are in turn, limiting the number of pills they send to ethical retail outlets;
- Some of the pharmacists left to sell the drug are scrutinizing customers for signs of impairment or other suspicious activity and declining to sell the drug...despite a legitimate prescription;
Those limited drug stores still selling oxycodone have in many cases increased the price of each pill six-fold from $1.00 to $6.00;
Street prices for oxycodone in St. Petersburg and surrounding areas have now risen from $10.00 to $15.00 per pill; A greater scarcity of the drug on the street has forced many people addicted to the drug to look to pharmacies to meet their demand;
- A greater scarcity of the drug on the street has forced many people addicted to the drug to look to pharmacies to meet their demand;
- Law enforcement believes the 50% increase in cost will translate into more risky and desperate acts on the part of those people who are driven to devise any possible method necessary to secure this highly addictive drug. The strong addictive nature of the drug, coupled with its high street price often leads to individuals engaging in various other felony offenses, such as burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and worthless check offenses;
Arrested for a Drug Charge in St. Petersburg or Clearwater?
We are experienced criminal defense lawyers who regularly represent clients within the the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area facing drug charges. We make every effort on our client's behalf to avoid a felony conviction and jail.
You can contact our office for a free consultation at: (727) 578-0303
Other Related Links:Watch NBC video on increased difficulty in securing oxycodone