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Major Pill Mill Owners Sentenced

Thirty-year prison sentences were given to the husband-and-wife owners of what officials say was Tampa’s largest pill mill operation, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Jorge Gonzalez-Betancourt and Michele Gonzalez were convicted in March of drug trafficking and racketeering, in connection to their 1st Medical Group pain clinic, the Times reports. While the couple said their practice was legitimate, Tampa Police say in 2009 and 2010 it provided opiate drugs to drug dealers and addicts who would travel from out of state, the Times reports.

In an unrelated case, police reported two different incidents last week where children were sickened after ingesting drugs meant for someone else. 

A 19-month-old baby from Lakeland was recovering after swallowing a methadone pill, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Shawn Cross, 34, was arrested and charged with one count of child neglect in the case, though his connection to the baby wasn’t clear, the Sentinel reports.

And in Coral Springs, six middle school girls were released from the hospital after ingesting a “potentially fatal” prescription medication another student brought to campus, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.