The war against the prescription drug epidemic in Florida wages on, with more and more people being arrested for illegal distribution of such drugs - including doctors and pharmacists. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder went to Tampa, Florida to report the arrest of 22 people in Central Florida on charges of illegal prescription drug distribution; among the arrested were five doctors and two pharmacists. With the help of the new drug database as well as stricter enforcement policies, the days of illegally obtaining prescription narcotics may be slowly coming to an end.
Between 2005 and 2010, oxycodone-related deaths in Florida increased by 345 percent, according to Holder in his speech. Last year, there was an estimated 53 million oxycodone pills sold to medical practitioners in the United States, it is unbelievable to think that more than 85 percent were bought in Florida.
Drug tourism is a major problem in Florida, people travel across state lines into Florida to buy prescription narcotics with ease, only to travel to another state to sell them. On top of the 22 arrests, there were another fifteen people were indicted in a conspiracy to illegally obtain controlled substances and transport them to Kentucky, according to the Associated Press.
“The days of easily acquiring these drugs from corrupt doctors and pharmacists is coming to an end,” Holder said. He announced a Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad is being created in Orlando to shut down:
- “pill mills”
- prescription forgery rings
- illegal online pharmacies
These squads are already operating in 40 cities, including Tampa and Miami and should be quite effective in curbing the raging epidemic. Florida, as well as number of other states, needs to be vigilant if they are ever going to have a significant impact regarding this problem. We need to better educate people as to the dangers associated with prescription narcotics because many people believe that they are safer than illegal drugs - which is simply not the case.