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A Frenchman who was arrested when he arrived in the U.S. for a world beard-growing championship faces a prison sentence in Miami federal court for online drug trafficking using the alias "OxyMonster."

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A Florida doctor has been convicted in a woman's fatal opioid overdose.

Doctor’s Conviction Upheld In Pill Mill Case

Aug 4, 2016

A state appeals court Wednesday rejected the arguments of a Broward County doctor who was convicted on charges including racketeering and trafficking in oxycodone after an undercover investigation of a pill mill.

The number of newborns who are physically dependent on drugs in Florida has nearly doubled since 2010, according to The News-Press.

Some people addicted to oxycodone and other opioids are now turning to widely available diarrhea medications to manage their withdrawal symptoms or get high.

The results can be dangerous to the heart — and sometimes fatal — warn toxicologists in a study recently published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Florida Heroin, Fentanyl Deaths Skyrocket

May 3, 2016

Florida medical examiners have recorded a sharp increase in deaths related to opioid overdoses, especially in South Florida.

Photo: Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

A street pill that looks like it came straight from the pharmacist is causing deaths in Orlando. State law enforcement officials discovered the so-called super pill recently, and they are warning residents to keep from buying pain killers on the black market.

FDA Adds Boldest Warning To Most Widely Used Painkillers

Mar 23, 2016
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

Federal health regulators will add their strongest warning labels to the most widely prescribed painkillers, part of a multi-pronged government campaign to stem an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.

To The Editor:

I understand Health News Florida did not write the story on pharmacies being allocated narcotics, however, I think a disservice to the citizens of Florida to have it be a lead story.

Oseceola County Sheriff's Office

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says authorities have arrested a doctor for his role in the 2012 overdose death of a Palm Bay woman. His wife was also arrested for the couple's role in a pill mill organization.

Officials say 53-year-old Ibem Borges and 54-year-old Wanda Otero were arrested Monday. A FDLE affidavit says Borges' prescriptions were responsible for the death of 60-year-old Carol Campbell in May 2012.

A doctor and eight employees of a South Florida medical clinic are facing manslaughter, racketeering and other charges in what authorities say was a massive pill mill operation.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrests Wednesday as part of a five-year investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Agency and in conjunction with the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Charlotte Observer

A database that tracks oxycodone and other controlled substances in Florida is being credited with a 25 percent drop in overdose deaths.

In 2011, the state created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program so doctors and pharmacists could see if patients were doctor shopping, or getting care from multiple doctors without their awareness,  for prescription drugs.

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.


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.

Florida Board of Medicine

Two Gulf Coast physicians lost their medical licenses Friday on similar charges, prescribing large quantities of addictive pain pills in ways the state said endangered the public.

One of them, Dr. Konstantine Yankopolus of Fort Myers, had already been suspended from practice in an emergency order filed by the Florida Department of Health in May 2013. 

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. 

  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is applauding Florida’s crackdown on “pill mills” in its most recent Vital Signs report.

A Hillsborough County doctor faces up to 25 years in prison for his role in pill mills, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Monday.

Dr. Paul Awa was convicted of conspiracy to traffic more than 28 grams of oxycodone. Bondi said Awa provided only cursory physical exams of patients before prescribing the addictive painkillers at three different offices, as part of the J.W. Wellness pain management clinic. The patients were from across Florida, as well as out of state, Bondi said.

A federal judge in West Palm Beach has sentenced a South Florida doctor to more than six years in prison on money laundering charges related to her prescription of millions of oxycodone pills and other narcotics.

Also sentenced in the case Friday, a fellow doctor who received 18 months behind bars on similar charges. Both physicians were part of a broad 2010 investigation into so-called "pill mills".

Charges of first-degree murder were dropped against a doctor this week after the state discovered that key parts of the law used to indict him for the overdose deaths of two patients didn’t exist at the time the deaths occurred, the Palm Beach Post reports. On Thursday, prosecutors instead charged Dr.

A Broward County man who paid HIV patients to help defraud Medicare has entered a plea deal in Tampa’s federal court, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

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.

A Fort Lauderdale doctor has been convicted for his role in a South Florida pill mill operation.

Dr. Thomas Rodenberg, one of seven doctors swept up in the three-year probe, was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, illegally delivering controlled substances, and trafficking prescription pain killers, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.  

A Tampa-area man has been sentenced to 34 years in  prison for sex trafficking  on Wednesday after a federal judge ruled that it wasn’t necessary for the defendant to physically beat those under his control, the Tampa Bay Times reports (paywall alert).

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

A former West Palm Beach doctor has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the narcotics overdose deaths of two patients, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. John Christensen, 61, also operated clinics in Port St. Lucie and Daytona Beach. His Florida medical license has already been revoked, state records show.

A former doctor described as “extraordinarily kind” in his pediatric practice was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Tuesday for illegally prescribing oxycodone. Scott Becker admitted prescribing close to one million pills during a seven-month period, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Becker found the job at All Pain Management Clinic on Craigslist.


In July, the University of Florida hired a psychiatrist to  practice at UF Health Recovery Center and made him an assistant professor.

Now, many are asking whether UF knew that Harold E. Smith, 61, had a history  of drug addiction and that his license was revoked by several other states and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

WSVN-TV/7 News

The Department of Health's Office of Inspector General has dismissed as unfounded a complaint filed by a former DOH investigator in Miami, WSVN reported.