Reporting Lisa Cilli
MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade County is getting tough on pain clinics that operate in the county.
Tuesday, the Commission approved an ordinance that requires all pain clinic owners in Miami-Dade to register their clinic with the Department of Consumer Services.
Clinics will not only be required to display this registration for their patients, but the Consumer Services Department will maintain a database of registered clinics to ensure none are involved in the illegal distribution of prescription medications.
While pain clinics are already required to register with the State of Florida, the ordinance takes it a step further.
It allows for more local control by creating a task force to review the State’s legislation on pain clinics and its effects on Miami-Dade, and issues a moratorium on new pain clinics for six months.
Currently, there are 109 pain clinics in Miami-Dade County.
“There are many pain clinic operators who adhere to the requirements placed upon them by the State of Florida in order to run a legitimate business. However, we cannot ignore the prevalence of clinics which knowingly prescribe medication to addicts and ‘doctor shoppers,’” said Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, who sponsored the ordinance. “This kind of unconscionable practice can lead to crime in the surrounding area, not to mention death by the users who abuse these powerful drugs. This ordinance makes it even more difficult for those ‘pill mills’ to operate within our borders.”
Miami-Dade County has seen an increase in prescription drug abuse. Last August, the South Florida Behavioral Network gave a presentation to the Florida Drug and Alcohol Abuse Association. The findings included an increased number of prescription drug-related deaths due to oxycodone and benzodiazepines in Miami-Dade County over the past few years.
The Miami-Dade County Addiction Services Board has also reported that nearly 1,000 infants born in Florida hospitals were treated for drug withdrawal in 2009, primarily for withdrawal from oxycodone and other prescription drugs. In addition, the Florida Medical Examiner Commission has released annual and interim reports citing increases in opioid deaths.
The ordinance will be effective ten days after the passage of the legislation.