The readers’ forum

Children: Pill mills’ collateral damage

 

Re the March 21 article Innocents Lost: As pills killed kids, the state shrugged: Too often, we forget that the policies we enact, or fail to enact, have direct and immediate consequences on the lives of those we serve. I can think of no better example than what you so clearly laid out and the impact that quasi-legal drug use has had on innocent children.

It was also rewarding to see that the changes Florida lawmakers made in 2011 to rein in so-called pill mills have had a very real and positive impact. As demonstrated in the article, since the passage of HB 7095 in 2011, the number of pill mill clinics has plummeted, as have the sales of lethal narcotics like oxycodone, and related deaths.

For the families — and especially the children — who have suffered, these trends indicate a positive direction for our state. But I hope the lesson of your story will not be lost on policymakers of this state. The article highlighted an area rarely explored: The collateral damage to children and, if for no other reason than their protection, we must remain vigilant.

During my eight years in the Florida Senate, I was one of the most outspoken critics of Florida’s failure to clamp down on these dangerous pill mill dispensaries, as I sponsored several pieces of legislation designed to deal with the scourge of prescription drug abuse.

Finally, at the behest of Attorney General Pam Bondi, the legislature enacted the landmark 2011 law that continues to save countless lives. Despite Florida’s remarkable turnaround, I can personally attest to the forces that are still working to loosen the restrictions on narcotic prescriptions and impede law enforcement from investigating doctor shopping. There is simply too much money to be made by illicit profiteers and there are simply too many potential clients who will do anything to feed an unhealthy and very dangerous addiction.

The current law sought to balance a number of competing and often complex variables and altering such a balance could have widespread devastating consequences for years to come. The 2011 law represented a balance among the legitimate needs of patients, the independence and authority of honest physicians, federal privacy restrictions and a host of other considerations.

That is why it is also vital that current lawmakers tread carefully on loosening restrictions on narcotics prescriptions and dispensation. In addition, new roadblocks must not be put in law enforcement’s way when it comes to investigating doctor shoppers and the physicians who are suspected of enabling and exploiting their addictions.

It is indeed sad that our state, as you say, “shrugged” for so many years. Thankfully, this trend has been reversed, although not fully solved. Let’s hope your series stands as a warning that our state should never shrug again.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney,

Palm Beach County

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Renewable energy is better than FPL’s nuclear power lines

    In his July 15 letters Bury FPL’s high-voltage transmission lines, former South Miami mayor Horace Feliu insists that the city of South Miami should pay the $18 million that FPL demands in order to underground the high-voltage transmission lines it proposes on U.S. 1 to support a pair of nuclear plants.

  • No double standard

    What is all this talk admonishing Israel about not killing civilians and being disproportionate in its response to Hamas?

  • Police transparency

    It is about time that the police begin taping interrogations — and that should be only the first step. There is no reason for jurors or anyone else to trust the police. Every time a cop gets busted, the blue wall descends and nothing happens. If police want to be respected again, then the state attorney’s office must prosecute cops who break the law and send them to prison; police departments must fire cops who abuse privileges; and police officers must show respect for the law and citizens. The best way to do that is to wear body cams and use dashboard and station cams.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category