pain pills

Surgeons Object To Pain Pill Limits

Jan 11, 2018
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Seven days’ worth of pain medicines are inadequate for patients who’ve had their chests ripped open for heart surgery or had their hips or knees replaced, doctors told lawmakers considering legislation aimed at curbing the state’s opioid crisis on Wednesday.

State Change Could Help Patients Get Pain Medications

Oct 8, 2015
Associated Press

Reacting to pleas from desperate patients unable to get pain medications, the Florida Board of Pharmacy on Wednesday approved a rule change aimed at training pharmacists to change their mindset about prescriptions for controlled substances.

Feds, Pharmacies Grapple With Pain Pill Dilemma

Oct 2, 2015
Associated Press

Susan Langston wiped away tears as she spoke of a 40-year-old woman who had struggled with cancer for a decade before a Fort Myers pharmacy refused to fill a prescription for pain medication.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

A federal indictment unsealed in January blames Tampa physician Dr. Edward Neil Feldman for the overdose death of three patients. 

But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, the charges involving powdered oxycodone are just part of a long and troubled history with the law, from allegations of soliciting prostitutes to pleading guilty in a federal case on kickbacks for MRIs.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

A federal indictment blames Dr. Edward Neil Feldman for three prescription drug-related deaths, but medical examiners records link to him to more than a dozen drug overdose deaths, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Three administrative complaints alleging Feldman of malpractice are pending with the Florida Board of Medicine.

WTSP

Dr. Gunwant Dhaliwal -- the Pasco County doctor suspended by the Florida Board of Medicine in 2013 over allegations of groping a female assistant -- has been found not guilty by a criminal trial jury, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

A Pensacola-area veterinarian who was accused of writing prescriptions for thousands of methadone tablets for his ex-wife’s dog -- but was actually giving them to his daughter-in-law -- has been sentenced to 20 months in state prison, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

The Florida Department of Health wants to tighten security on the state’s prescription drug database after names and prescriptions histories of 3,000 were released last year to attorneys after a multi-agency drug sting, the News Service of Florida reports. The new restrictions lay out terms of use for law enforcement agencies and officials, including requiring training before law enforcement could access the database. As Dara Kam with News Service reports, DOH had wanted to require court orders to access the database, but that idea was rejected by the Florida Legislature.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports prescription pill related deaths in Florida fell sharply in the past few years.

State officials have said it’s a sign laws aimed at cracking down on “pill mills” in the Sunshine State are working. But, addiction specialists say the crackdown has had some unintended consequences. 

On both Florida coasts, the toll of oxycodone continues, as a doctor is arrested and clinic owners are convicted.

The Boca Raton Police arrested Dr. Harry Kesten, 47, owner of Quick Test Labs in Delray Beach, after he tried to buy $300 worth of oxycodone pills, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Police used an undercover informant to tape a phone conversation, then set up the fake buy.

Most child deaths from abuse or neglect uncovered in a year-long Miami Herald investigation occurred in families where one or both parents had a documented history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Florida Senate

Opting for stronger privacy controls despite law enforcement concerns, the Senate Health Policy Committee has approved changes to Florida’s prescription drug database.

Thousands of the criminal prescription drug cases may be in jeopardy after a law-enforcement chemist has been accused of swapping the pain pills for over-the-counter drugs.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist, whose name was not released, is accused of stealing pills from an evidence room in the Panhandle for years, according to The Associated Press

Only a few counties and agencies across Florida have contributed money to run the drug database intended to crack down on prescription pill abuse, the Tampa Tribune reports. Hillsborough County, where the Tribune reports the database is used more than anywhere else, hasn’t contributed any funds. The Department of Health says it solicits funds from agencies in each county to pay for the database, which doesn’t get any state money.

The Food and Drug Administration today took another step toward restricting use of OxyContin and other powerful and often-abused prescription pain medications.

Miriam R. Rubano, a Palm Beach County dentist, had her license suspended in an emergency Department of Health order in October, on the grounds that she was a danger to the public. But apparently she ignored that and kept right on practicing, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

A Delray Beach doctor who signed a lease saying he wouldn’t be opening a pain clinic appears to be running a pain clinic anyway, the Palm Beach Post reports. Dr. Fernando Jimenez has been arrested after nearby businesses tipped off authorities that patients were looking for him to write prescriptions for powerful pain pills. 

Florida’s Department of Health held a hearing Tuesday for discussion of its proposed rules to tighten privacy of patient names in the state’s prescription drug database, News Service of Florida reports.

A children’s clinic in Sarasota is tackling the long term care and supervision of local babies born addicted to prescription pills with a follow-up clinic that is one of the first of its kind in the state.

Most babies born addicted to pain killers only get special treatment during the first few weeks after they’re born.

Typically, doctors and nurses wean them off opioids—sometimes using morphine—and then send the babies home.

The Florida Department of Health, which is in charge of Florida's prescription drug database, held a workshop Monday morning to discuss tightening rules on who has access to it following the leak of thousands of names of patients who were treated at a pain clinic in Volusia County.

The input from today's workshop will be used in another workshop in August, according to Molly Koon Kellogg, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health.   

New York Times

In the past decade, fatal painkiller overdoses among women have increased 400 percent, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The CDC says more men still die from overdosing on prescription pain pills, but women are catching up quickly. While Florida doesn’t track the gender of people who die from an overdose, more than 1,500 babies are born addicted to the pain pills each year, according to state data.

Christopher George told a jury that he made close to $40 million running pill mills in South Florida with his twin brother, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. He said they took in so much cash they had to store it in garbage cans, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Florida officials say they’re taking steps to tighten security for the state’s prescription drug database after State Attorney C.J. Larizza released the prescription information of 3,300 people in a drug trafficking case, the Palm Beach Post reports. Law enforcement officials charged only six people in the sting, but their search of the database yielded private records of thousands of individuals who were unrelated to the case.

Christopher George, who is serving time for running pill mills in South Florida with his twin brother Jeff, is the state’s star witness in a case against two physicians who are charged in the deaths of nine former patients. But he made a big mistake: He disregarded the warning that all jail phone calls are recorded.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Two South Florida doctors, accused of prescribing narcotics that killed nine patients, are scheduled to go to trial this week, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.  Lawyers for the two, Cynthia Cadet of Parkland and Key  Largo’s Joseph Castronuovo, say they did nothing wrong. 

The Columbus Dispatch

Urban Outfitters, a retail chain known for carrying humorous, yet sometimes controversial products, is under the spotlight for its “Prescription Line.” Attorney General Pam Bondi and 22 other AGs wrote a letter to the store asking them to stop all sales of products that mimic prescription pill bottles and pads, saying that the products “undermine” the efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, the Miami Herald reports.

JIM DAMASKE / Tampa Bay Times

Deaths from prescription pill abuse have declined sharply in counties around Tampa Bay, and law enforcement officials point to fewer “pill mills” in operation as the reason, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Experts also credit the state’s prescription monitoring database for the decrease. 

Orlando Sentinel

An investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration uncovered the source of a national pill-trafficking ring: Encore Pharmacy in Kissimmee, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Investigators say part of the scam involved fraudulent Medicare claims.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says he’s never heard of someone running a scheme like this one. Police say Suzanne Kraus used the name of her dead dog as the “patient” at the pharmacy to get painkillers, the Palm Beach Post reports.  

 

Lakeland Ledger

A Tampa doctor who also worked at a pain clinic in Lakeland was more than willing to prescribe hydrocodone to an undercover officer who had no medical need for it, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says. As the Lakeland Ledger reports, Dr. Aaron Bran­ham Roush has been in trouble before for his prescribing practices.   

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