PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - South Florida's pill mills have come under attack. Sweeping raids by federal agents in February shut down four pain clinics in Palm Beach County; however, the people keeping those pill mills in business quickly found another source by breaking into or robbing local pharmacies.
"There is definitely an epidemic in Florida as far as drug abuse," explained George Drogaris, who operates Ira’s Discount Pharmacy in Delray Beach.
Drogaris has been in the pharmacy business for 30 years and in Delray Beach for the last eight.
With 22 cameras, a reinforced store front, including a front door under heavy lock and key, he's working hard to keep intruders out and heavy painkillers difficult to access.
"We keep our inventory to the minimum," he said.
Prescriptions are checked with doctors to make sure they’re valid. Pharmacists also look to solve any problems before they start.
"We advise the patients how to, if they're addicted to a certain medication, how to seek help," Drogaris added.
They also help patients who may be at risk.
"If somebody has severe pain, we can advise them how to watch for symptoms and signs of addiction and what to be careful with," he said.
As a small pharmacy, Drogaris said it’s important to have a close relationship with the customer.
“I think personal communication is very important,” he said. “I want them to know that there is help out there and if they need it, they can ask for it at their local pharmacy and call the doctors. They can provide for help.”
Drogaris said he thinks the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, the State Board of Pharmacy and other agencies are doing a good job by taking drastic measures to shut down pill mills. He also feels helping addicts overcome their dependencies will go a long way toward solving the problem.
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