Pill Mills

What are Pill Mills?

A "pill mill" is a doctor’s office, clinic, or health care facility that routinely conspires in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances outside the scope of the prevailing standards of medical practice in the community or violates the laws of the state of Florida regarding the prescribing or dispensing of controlled prescription drugs.

Issue

Florida leads the nation in diverted prescription drugs, resulting in seven Floridians dying every day and countless others throughout the nation. Our state has become the destination for distributors and abusers through the proliferation of pill mills.

While legitimate pain-management clinics do exist to serve those with chronic pain or terminal illness, other unscrupulous clinics, called pill mills, merely serve as drug traffickers. Common characteristics of pill mills include: cash-only/no insurance; no appointments; armed guards; little or no medical records; grossly inadequate physical examinations; and large prescription doses of narcotics that exceed the boundaries of acceptable medical care.

The Facts
An example of an alleged pill mill

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared prescription drug abuse an epidemic in America.

Florida is the epicenter of prescription drug diversion because – until recently – our state had weak regulatory oversight of pain management practices, limited oversight of physician dispensing habits, and no statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

In Florida, pharmaceutical drug diversion means an average of more than seven dead a day to prescription drug overdose.

As of February 2012, there were 580 registered pain management clinics in Florida, down from more than 900 the year prior.

Drugs recovered in a pill mill sweep by FDLE

Florida’s dubious distinction as the ‘epicenter’ of the nation’s ‘pill mill’ epidemic was solidified in 2010 when DEA’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) reported that 90 of the top 100 oxycodone purchasing physicians in the nation were located in Florida.

When alcohol is excluded, prescription drugs accounted for 81% of all drug occurrences in Florida’s 2010 Medical Examiner’s Report.

The wall of drugs in a pill mill to be dispensed 2011 Anti-Pill Mill Bill

Attorney General Bondi worked with the Florida Legislature to pass legislation cracking down on Florida's pill mills. Click here to read about the legislation.



Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns

Created during the 2012 legislative session, the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns is designed to examine the scope of the problem of prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers, the costs associated with caring for babies with neonatal withdrawal syndrome, the long-term effects of the syndrome, and prevention strategies. Read more about the task force.

Congressional Testimony

House Energy & Commerce Committee – Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge