Authorities seize thousands of pills from pain clinic doctors in Palm Beach County

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Authorities swept pain clinics today, seizing thousands of pills from doctors who are no longer authorized to prescribe them, officials said.

The Florida Department of Health and the Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Forces went to 24 locations, three in Palm Beach County, and seized pain drugs such as oxycodone from doctors no longer allowed to dispense them as of last week when a new law went into effect.

The strike force seized about 9,500 pills from a clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, about 7,800 from Boca Raton and about 4,800 from a clinic in Boynton Beach.

Other counties involved in the sweep today were Miami Dade, Broward and Monroe.

There were no arrests made and none of the clinics were shut down, officials said.

"It's a new day, a new chapter in this fight," Palm Beach Sheriff's Office Capt Eric Coleman said. "We'll keep going."

Under a new state law that took effect last week, clinics and doctors can only write prescriptions for pain drugs, which now must be filled at pharmacies. Leftover pills are to be returned to distributors or given to the state to be destroyed.

Authorities are targeting clinics and doctors that ordered at least 2,000 pain pills a month this year or have suspicious histories.

The law also authorized a prescription-drug monitoring database. Gov. Rick Scott initially opposed the database, calling it a waste of money and an invasion of privacy.

According to the state, more than 2,500 people in Florida die each year from painkiller abuse.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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