During the course of the opioid crisis one question remains – who is responsible? Recent litigation and criminal cases have been brought against doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and business executives. The jury is still out on who is to blame, but one culprit worth reexamining is the involvement of Florida’s pill mill industry.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Florida became a hot spot for prescription medications through their unregulated and unchecked pill mills. What is most shocking about the pill mills is that they not only catered to Floridians, but many out-of-state residents traveled to Florida to get prescription medications and then disseminated the pills in their hometowns. In 2010, 90 of the nation’s top 100 opioid prescribers were Florida doctors. The pills mills flourished because Florida did not immediately put into place a computerized tracking system for the sale of narcotics like other states, which allowed the pill mill operation to go unchecked. The pill mills began to die out once Florida did use the tracking system for the sale of narcotics.
While the pill mills of Florida are no longer in their heyday, they are regarded as a gateway for the opioid crisis by helping to disseminate countless numbers of opioid pills within their own communities and in communities of neighboring states.