They’re surreptitiously set in strip-malls alongside legitimate businesses. With a storefront and a sign they easily prey on the public as just another proprietor trying to make a buck. However, with these businesses the buck stops here. We’re talking about pill mills: illegal make-shift “clinics” selling prescription painkillers like candy.
The scam revealed by the Tampa Tribune, demonstrated how anyone off the street with some cash and a minor medical exam can be issued an exorbitant amount of opiate-based painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. Unfortunately, Tampa is quickly becoming “the epicenter of a statewide cottage industry that dispenses prescriptions and pills in multitudes, according to a federal agency that inspects pain-management clinics. As a result, people are dying, state and local officials say.”
“You could say Tampa is ground zero for pain clinics and prescription drug diversion,” said Ryan Lynch, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ Office of the Inspector General.
Due to Tampa’s and Hillsborough County’s lax regulations regarding pain-management clinics, the fraudsters can easily set-up shop and start dishing out doses of narcotics. “You and I can start a pharmacy right now,” said Chris Rule, a Hillsborough County sheriff’s narcotics detective. “We’ll just buy a building and hire out a doctor to come in and write prescriptions.”
Doctors are often never on site and provide pads of blank, but signed prescriptions. Steven Rosenberg, a Palm Beach doctor and member of the Florida Board of Medicine, said disciplinary hearings are held six times a year. At least two pain clinic doctors turn in their licenses at every meeting, he said.
The Fraud Dog Says – America, we need your help to stop pill mills from opening up in your town.
Aggressive networking between health care task forces, law enforcement and insurance companies are needed to stop PILL RUNNERS, and PILL MILLS. There is a new type of “drug dealer” in town… and it’s a storefront dope dealer.
Contego Services Group, a provider of insurance services and risk management services, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Six Points Enterprises, LLC, a diversified investment group serving the insurance and financial services industries. Taken from the Latin meaning, Contego Insurance Group stands ready to Shield – Protect – Defend. Contact us at 1-855-WE-SWARM.