Pinellas County is cracking down on “pill mills,” and authorities aren’t shy about bragging about it.
In a campaign to wage war on the abuse of prescription pills, Pinellas County has even taken to billboards as both a form of bragging and a warning to street dealers of prescriptions.
The first of these billboards was at 1945 Sunset Point Road in Clearwater, between Hercules and Keene Road on the south side of Sunset Point Road.
The campaign, which was launched April 1, has a simple message, “We're shutting down Pill Mills in Pinellas County."
The offensive against prescription pills abuse began after a stunning 2010 when Pinellas County let all counties in Florida with the number of deaths stemming from prescription abuse.
"Pinellas County's high-prescriber ordinance is used to regulate facilities and identify doctors who prescribe large quantities of prescription narcotics," said Paul Melton, an investigator with the Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services. "The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office identifies and investigates doctor shopping and other prescription drug crimes and the Department of Health investigates doctors and clinics where prescribing violations and standards of care issues might occur. These are examples of how different agencies have come together as a united front to battle this problem."
Melton notes that community partners are critical in the fight against prescription abuse.
"The key to reaching addicted individuals comes long before they get involved in the criminal justice system," he said. "Organizations like NOPE (Narcotics Overdose Prevention Education) and LiveFree! work tirelessly to educate our young about the dangers of drug addiction and empower them to hold each other accountable and get help if needed."
(Some information from this article was provided by Pinellas County Communications office.)