This past February, the Broward County Commission, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, established a task force to make regulatory and licensing recommendations to the commission concerning pain clinics. As readers may already be aware, the pain clinic issue has exploded into an epidemic with Broward County as its epicenter.
In 2007 there were only 4 pain clinics operating in Broward County. Now, there are a whopping 154 clinics in Broward alone. Palm Beach has 122 clinics. In total, there are 942 clinics throughout all of Florida.
For those that are not aware, the patrons of these clinics are not comprised of cancer patients and burn victims who need pain management as part of their medical routine. Instead, most patrons are young people and out-of-towners who are looking for easy access to medications to feed their addiction to substance abuse.
In fact, Broward County leads the nation in oxycodone sales. For example, the DEA claims that more than 9 million oxycodone pills were dispensed by Broward clinics during a brief six month period in 2008.
Thats more than 5 pills for every person living in Broward County at that time (according to the U.S. Census, Broward had a population of approximately 1.7 million people in 2008)!
How is that possible? Places like New York City, Los Anegeles, and Philadelphia trump the Fort Lauderdale area when it comes to population size, but are dwarfed in comparison when it comes to oxycodone use.
The ramifications to the community have been enormous. This impact is most notable in our criminal courthouse where thousands and thousands of new addicts are prosecuted every year. The numbers are growing and growing and our courts are becoming ever more burdened.
By creating and maintaining drug addicts, these pill mills not only harm individuals, but they are draining our community’s resources. Patrolling, arresting, prosecuting, and then jailing drug addicts costs millions of dollars every year.
Instead of digging ourselves out of the mortgage crisis or spending our money on solving other social problems, we are throwing it away in the courthouse on people that should never have been prescribed oxycodone in the first place.
It doesn’t end there.
Once the courthouse and the jails are done with these addicts, they then return to the streets in worse-off condition than when they were arrested. Instead of just being pill addicted drug addicts, many now have felony convictions and driver’s license suspensions due to the drug offense which create additional hurdles to recovery and return to a normal drug-free life.
Which naturally leads to more drug abuse and additional arrests, yet another prosecution, and even more jail…. all at the expense of our community and its meager financial resources.
It is time for our government to stand up and take these pill mills out once and for all.