Tampa Criminal Attorney Comments On New Florida Pill Mill Bill
(Tampa, Florida) Governor Charles Crist’s approval of Senate Bill 2272, more commonly referred to as the Pill Mill Bill, spurred an array of varied reactions from the public. While some critics call some of the bill’s provisions to be “discriminatory,” leading Tampa criminal law firm Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers (http://www.denmonlaw.com) generally see it as a palliative against the constant efforts to thwart the bill for the last seven years.
“It is a relief to see the Florida legislature is shifting its attention away from punishing the prescription addicts and toward the root of the problem: the complete lack of regulation of Florida’s pain clinics,” says Atty. Christian Denmon, one of the firm’s partners.
SB 2272, which was passed with an almost unanimous vote in the Legislature, aims to strengthen the crackdown on unscrupulous drug traffickers masquerading as pain management clinics and peddling large quantities of narcotic painkillers, such as oxycodone and methadone, to drug addicts. Under the new law, all doctors and pharmacists are obliged to document all patient prescriptions for most drugs in a state-owned data bank.
For the past seven years, lobbyists for the suppression of illegal drug abuse have been pushing for the bill but have been continuously rejected in Tallahassee. Florida has been one of the only 12 states in the entire United States that did not monitor their patient prescriptions, making it a hotspot where drug traffickers can purchase massive amounts of drugs without the watchful eyes of the law.
“There are more pain clinics in Broward County than (there are) McDonald’s,” says Atty. Denmon. “And 49 out of the nation’s top 50 oxycodone prescribers are in Florida. For years, the clinics have been open on every major street, where it has become routine for a doctor in the clinic to write a script for 240 to 300 oxycodone pills a month for someone with ‘back pain’.”
However, Atty. Denmon disapproves of how current Florida Criminal Law broadly defines drug traffickers, and the severity of the mandatory punishments that follow a conviction. Under Florida law, persons found to be selling, or buying over four grams of a prescription pill can be found guilty of drug trafficking, and face a minimum of 3 years in prison. Contrary to what most people think of a “drug trafficker”, a person found to be merely in possession of 4 grams of pills without a prescription will also face the same minimum mandatory of three years.
“The new law does nothing to minimize the potential draconian sentence on the prescription addict,” he says. ”But at least it is a step in the right direction for lawmakers, shifting the punishment from the junkie to the real trafficker.”
Atty. Denmon gives us an example. Consider, he says, the case of a 22-year-old junkie who obtains forged MRI scans of his supposed back injuries and presents these scans to an unregulated “pain clinic” on one of Pinellas County’s main streets. Although the “clinic” knows the MRI scans are fake, they issue him a prescription for 240 oxycodone pills for his “back pain.” When the authorities come to investigate, the clinic dodges an examination by revealing information about their “patients,” including our 22-year-old junkie, which is now permissible under the new law.
“The injustice is that Florida criminalizes the crime of trafficking in prescription drugs with minimum mandatory prison penalties,” remarks Atty. Denmon. “That means that the pill head who is searched by a cop in possession of a certain weight of pills will face a mandatory prison sentence of three, 15, or 25 years, even if he was possessing the pills only to get high.”
In the case of the hypothetical example above, under traditional Florida law the patient with the fake MRI may face a minimum of 25 years in prison. Meanwhile the cooperative pain clinic doctor may escape prosecution altogether. While SB 2272 does not address the excessive punishments doled out to those purchasing the pills, it does address the pain management clinic owner who puts the pills in the hands of the purchaser. “And that”, says Attorney Denmon, “is a start”.
Being charged with a drug trafficking offense is certainly no walk in the park. The potential legal implications, as well as the existing social consequences, are grave. Every person alleged with drug trafficking should have an able and aggressive defense lawyer by their side. If you are this person, Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers located at 918 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606 and 5703 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652 can help you. For more a free consultation, call (813) 554-3232 (Hillsborough) or (727) 753-0048 (Pasco and Pinellas County) now. The website is: http://www.denmonlaw.com
- Contact Information
- Christian Denmon
- Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers
- Contact via E-mail
This news content may be integrated into any legitimate news gathering and publishing effort. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.