Officials want to stop "pill mills"

Reigning in pain clinics. That was the topic Monday at a prescription drug and pain clinic summit near West Palm Beach.
Investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office showed undercover video at an unnamed pain clinic.  They say it was before 9 a.m., yet the parking lot was packed, and people were lined up at the door.  Many were from out of state, based on the license plates.
"When you have people coming in from Kentucky in vanloads," said State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, "to be prescribed hundreds and hundreds of pills, then you know you have a problem and you have to deal with it."
Lawmakers in attendance said they expect passage of tougher pain clinic bills this year.  State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, (D- Wellington), has filed one of the bills designed to close loopholes in the law that allow the clinics to proliferate.

"People are losing their lives," said Rep. Abruzzo.  "And Florida, quite frankly, is a target for the rest of the nation."

Under Abruzzo's bill, only licensed physicians could own and operate pain clinics, and clinics could only dispense three days worth of medications.  There would also be limits on advertising.

But the president of the Palm Beach County Medical Society, Dr. Larry Gorfine, while supportive of efforts to limit so-called "pill mills," sounded a cautionary note.  "As long as there's a strong demand for these medications," said Dr. Gorfine, "somebody's going to be filling them on way or another.  And every time we stop it in one area, it will move to another."