BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- - Rounded up and arrested for allegedly scamming pharmacies out of thousands of pain pills, federal agents on Thursday put an end to a pill mill that might have impacted numerous people who rely on the medication.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said the suspects would recruit people to fill illegal prescriptions for Oxycodone. Investigators said as a result of this behavior, supplies plummeted for the pill and made pharmacists leery to replenish the pill. The chain reaction of events is a bitter pill to swallow for those people who need Oxycodone the most.
People like Kathleen Petcoff rely on the medication. Every step she takes is painful due to multiple ruptured discs in her back.
"(It's) constant. Sharp at very times. Stabbing," said Petcoff.
Petcoff said she battles the pain with Oxycodone.
A few weeks ago, Petcoff was shocked when she was told by multiple pharmacists they were out of the pill.
"There's no way I could go two weeks without my medication. I would be in bed laid up," said Petcoff.
The cause according to investigators was being carried away on Thursday in the arms of DEA agents. There were at least 17 people arrested in Boynton Beach who were accused of running a pill mill. DEA agents claimed the operation scammed pharmacies out of 45,000 pills in the matter of months.
"It's just that there are some doctors who don't want to prescribe and some pharmacists who don't want to dispense these drugs because they don't want to be involved," said Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County State Attorney .
Aronberg said the 2011 law he helped shape is meant to strike a balance. Aronberg puts the blame on the people like the suspects who were arrested on Thursday.
Petcoff, who relies on Oxycodone, had a message for the suspects.
"We need the medication. Stop creating issues or problems for we the people who do need it," said Petcoff.
DEA agents told WPTV NewsChannel 5 they are still looking for 20 people allegedly involved. Investigators said each charge can carry a 15 or 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.