As a new Florida law to shut down “pill mills” takes effect, drug treatment centers in the state are bracing for an influx of new patients who are addicted to prescription opioids. The Sun-Sentinel reports that the new law is expected to greatly increase the number of people who will need treatment for prescription drug abuse.
According to the article, in 2009, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that nine people were dying of prescription-drug overdoses every day.
The new law, which went into effect July 1, authorizes the creation of a prescription-drug monitoring database to reduce doctor-shopping by people looking to collect multiple painkiller prescriptions. The legislation also imposes new penalties for physicians who overprescribe medication and imposes stricter rules for operating pharmacies.
Federal authorities estimate that 85 percent of oxycodone is sold in Florida. Many of the sales are to people who come from out of state and then resell the pills illegally
Doctors and lawmakers are concerned that the state’s treatment clinics may not have enough funding and space to accommodate everyone who will seek treatment, as a result of the new law.
According to a report by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the state was ranked 35th out of 50 states in 2009 for per-capita spending on substance-abuse and addiction programs.