Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Attorney general candidates weigh in on 'pill mills'

TAMPA — On Friday, as a state law that gets tough on pain clinics took effect, one of the bill's co-sponsors stood in front of a Tampa courthouse and said it's not enough.

Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber announced a five-point plan to crack down on doctor-shopping and unscrupulous pain clinics, which he called "dispensaries of death."

"This is really the new drug war in this nation," said Gelber, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.

Gelber said he wants to encourage local moratoriums on new pain clinics, push forward a database that would make "doctor shopping" difficult, require pain clinics to be owned by physicians, strengthen prosecutors' tools and increase education.

From 2005 to 2009 in Florida, nearly 6,000 people died ingesting prescription drugs. In the Tampa Bay area, local authorities have raided pain clinics and made several arrests, but clinics are still seeing long lines of people — some who come from out of state because of the lax laws here, authorities say.

"We have become the Costco of prescription drugs," Gelber said of Florida.

Gelber said as attorney general he would make the fight against unnecessary prescribing of drugs a centerpiece of his tenure.

The new law prevents clinics from dispensing more than a three-day supply of drugs to anyone paying by cash or credit card. The clinics must also register with the state and open their doors to inspectors.

Already, the measure has faced opposition — most notably from the National Pain Institute, which sued last week to have it declared unconstitutional.

Gelber said he's afraid the bill will become mired in litigation.

"I understand that aspects of the bill may be burdening people, but we can't just regulate our way out of this problem," he said. "We're going to do it by some fairly draconian rules."

Court proceedings also have slowed the launch of a database that would track the prescriptions written and filled for addictive medications. The company that didn't get the state contract sued, which could delay use of the database for months, Gelber said.

A few hours after Gelber's announcement, the campaign of Republican attorney general nominee Pam Bondi released a statement about Bondi's plans to crack down on "pill mills."

"Prevention, intervention and rehabilitation must be the key components to any strategy our state develops for addressing this problem," Bondi's statement reads. "And I will commit to take a lead on this issue and shut down pill mills as attorney general."

A key part of her plan is for the state to rely on strong relationships with local law enforcement.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Attorney general candidates weigh in on 'pill mills' 10/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]
  2. Two wounded in St. Petersburg shooting

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Two men were wounded in a shooting Tuesday afternoon, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  3. Pinellas keeps movie dreams alive with indie roles, including Kevin Smith's latest film

    Movies

    Tampa Bay's film industry isn't dead. It's just resting, staying limber with a few shoestring indies and ambitious life support.

    Indie icon Kevin Smith, pictured at last week's San Diego Comic-Con, recently filmed his latest horror flick Killroy Was Here around Sarasota, and also filmed scenes at a house in St. Petersburg. (Getty Images for IMDb)
  4. Hernando Commission to ponder Weeki Wachee River water woes

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Water-based recreation in western Hernando County is a hot topic among county commissioners, but planned discussions about ongoing problems on the Weeki Wachee River and a new proposal for a potential swimming area in the Weekiwachee Preserve slowed to drip Tuesday.

    Kayaks crowd the Weeki Wachee River. A former Southwest  Florida Water Management District executive believes Hernando County should focus its spending on protecting the river, instead of developing a center and beach at the Weekiwachee Preserve.
Times files (2016)
  5. New Port Richey seeks better special events spread among more city sites

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY – After a $3 million upgrade at New Port Richey's Sims Park, city leaders are worried about the wear and tear on the park from the litany of special events held there.

    Sims Park, the site of popular splash pads and home to frequent festivals and special events in downtown New Port Richey, could see fewer new events because of concerns about wear and tear at the recently renovated park. in a workshop Monday, New Port Richey City Council talked of spreading future events around to other locales in the city. 
TIMES files (2016)