Drug trafficking and improper prescribing in Florida

In Florida, drug crimes related to prescription medications are taken very seriously. So seriously, that even doctors in the state have ended up facing drug trafficking charges after being accused of running pill mills in the state. Essentially, these physicians end up being treated by the legal system the same way as those who are accused of selling drugs on street corners.

In one case, it appears a Winter Park doctor was set up by law enforcement. The doctor was arrested after he allegedly gave muscle relaxers and painkillers to an informant. This doctor allegedly gave the prescriptions without having a valid medical reason to do so.

The doctor was subsequently arrested and charged with trafficking in hydrocodone, trafficking in oxycodone, and the delivery of a controlled substance.

A push was made for the Winter Park doctor to be charged under a Florida law related to improper prescribing practices. This charge is a third-degree felony, unlike a drug trafficking charge, which is a first-degree felony. For some, these charges can be the difference between a 25 year prison sentence and a five year prison sentence.

On Thursday, a judge denied the motion to drop the trafficking charges against the Winter Park doctor. However, this isn't to say that in the future motions against other physicians under the same grounds will not be accepted.

In fact, many expect to see a rise in those attempting to have drug trafficking charges replaced with the improper prescribing charge. This is due to the fact that there was a successful case in Palm Beach County where oxycodone-trafficking charges against a doctor were dismissed.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Rx for Dnager: Legal maneuver could help doctors in pill-mill cases," Amy Pavuk, Jan. 25, 2013

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