Florida has been plagued for years with the reputation of being the “pill mill capital of the country.” Lawmakers needed to do something about prescription painkiller abuse. But, the crackdown on pill mills has produced unintended consequences. Since 2011, there have been strict regulations on doctors and pharmacies when it comes to dispensing controlled substances. Click here to read about Attorney General of Florida Pam Bondi’s Pill Mill Initiative.
Additionally, state and federal law enforcement authorities have acted to arrest and prosecute pharmacists and physicians involved in prescribing and dispensing pain medication.
Real Headache for Hurting Patients.
These challenges for pain patients come after federal and state officials acted to combat an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Florida. While the concentrated effort has made a reduction in the number of deaths related to prescription drugs, patients who suffer from legitimate pain are often caught in the middle. According to the Orlando Sentinel, many pharmacists refuse to fill pain medicine prescriptions, which causes physicians to feel as though they are being second guessed.
Patients in legitimate pain often feel targeted and put on trial when trying to get pain medication. Many physicians have become too scared to write prescriptions for pain medications. When they do, many pharmacists either cannot or will not fill the prescriptions. Those who really need pain medications, for example terminally ill cancer patients, may be forced to go without it.
Has It Gone Too Far?
Many doctors, pharmacists and patients are wondering if it has gone too far in the wrong direction. The pain is real. The prescriptions are legal. So, why can’t patients get the medications that they need? The solution to this problem is not an easy task. To read a previous blog I wrote on the DEA crackdown, click here.
What do you think about the war on prescription drugs in Florida? Do you think the DEA has created a problem for patients in legitimate pain? As a pharmacist, how do you verify that prescriptions you receive are legitimate?