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Florida's war on pain clinics sidetracked

Miami Herald, December 27, 2010


Over the past two years, Florida lawmakers have waged war on storefront pain clinics, passing a succession of laws to rein in a rogue industry feeding a black market in prescription painkillers. Tough new rules were supposed to be in place by the end of this year, creating stricter standards for doctors handing out potent narcotics like oxycodone and compelling physicians and pharmacists to record patients' drug purchases in a statewide database. But today, many of those reforms remain undone, stalled by contract disputes and cumbersome new legislative rules. The delays are frustrating officials such as Florida drug czar Bruce Grant, who says unregulated pain clinics are contributing to an epidemic of prescription overdose deaths in the state -- about seven fatalities per day.