Even in 2007, pill mills, or “places where bad doctors hand out prescription drugs like candy”, were hitting media outlets such as the CBS News website. Pill mills are frequently storefront operations—clinics and pain-management centers that dispense narcotics to people who abuse drugs or people who want to sell them to drug abusers. The CBS News post also explained how they work: they’re cash only, and the operators conduct cursory physical exams and sketchy or mock reviews of patient records. That’s only for starters. There may also be security guards and a long line of people waiting to see the doctor or nurse.
These places are a growing concern. In December, The Gainesville Sun and The Palm Beach Post each had an article on how they’re proliferating in Florida. Also last month, Chris Cuomo reported on the problem in Texas for Good Morning America. Chris Scarborough is the unfortunate Texan in this story who was taken advantage of by unscrupulous doctors, according to his parents. The young man went to a pill mill, got some pills, and accidentally overdosed at age 25.
According to the story, there are 150 of these pill mills in Texas even though legislation has been passed to try and thwart them. It costs $4.00 to buy one hydrocodone pill or another pill containing soma, a muscle relaxer. And as Chris Cuomo so aptly put it, drugs don’t end there, they start there. What’s really sad is that Texan drug dealers, and undoubtedly others, pay homeless people to go in and buy the drugs for them.
I get so angry when I hear these stories. Will we never eradicate the prescription pill problem? What can we do about operations like this? I know the government convenes experts to discuss drug abuse, and there’s testimony before Congress, but we’ve got to do more. This is decimating our families and our children.