The rise of prescription drug abuse in Naples (and throughout the rest of the U.S.) also introduced a new term to criminal justice lexicon: “pill mills.” Pill mills are clinics where practitioners prescribe higher numbers of narcotic medications than those would expect from a standard practice of the same medical specialty. You trust your doctors implicitly, and thus likely assume that they have the authority to prescribe you the medications they suggest. Knowing for sure may help you know whether or not the prescriptions you have were prescribed lawfully.
According to Section 456.44 of the Florida state statutes, doctors, physicians assistants or advanced nurse practitioners who prescribe medications that contain substances found on the state’s drug schedules for the treatment of acute pain must be registered with the state. For the purposes of this law, “acute pain” is determined to be any not associated with the following conditions:
- Terminal illnesses
- Palliative care
- Traumatic injuries with a documented Injury Severity Score of at least nine
A clinician must designate in their professional profile if they are a controlled substance prescribing practitioner. Thus, you should know before even meeting them if a doctor can prescribe certain medications.
Yet even if such details are missed during your research into a doctor, controlled substances can only be prescribed to you under certain conditions. These include your doctor clearly documenting an ongoing treatment plan and why the use of pain medications are vital to it. You must also enter into a detailed controlled substance agreement with the doctor describing the terms under which your medication will be given. If none of this happened before you were given your medications, your doctor was likely not authorized to prescribe them (or at the very least, was not compliant with state regulations).