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Johns Hopkins Study Looks At Florida Pill Mill Crackdown

Pranjal Mahna /Flickr
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A new study from Johns Hopkins University shows Florida’s pill mill crackdown worked in its first year.

After becoming the epicenter for prescription opioid abuse, the state passed tougher laws for pain management clinics. The state also implemented a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program which gave healthcare professionals a better look at patients’ prescription drug histories.The laws went into full affect in 2011. Researchers at Johns Hopkins looked at hundreds of millions of prescriptions from the year before and after.

Lainie Rutkow was lead author on the study and says the first year of data shows a promising drop.“The declines that we saw were equal to something in the range of half a million 5 mg tabs of Vicodin per month. So that’s a lot of pills", Rutkow said. "And from a policy perspective, understanding that in the first year, we are seeing a declining trend that can be attributed to these laws certainly points the way towards future research to see what happened then in years 2, 3 and 4.”

Rutkow says those drops came from healthcare professionals and patients who were previously writing and filling prescriptions at unusually high rates.

She says other states may want to follow Florida’s lead by implementing both a pill mill law and a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

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