Monday, March 14, 2011

Buchanan's 'pill mill' bill wins bipartisan support

Backed by bipartisan coalition of co-sponsors, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan today will formally introduce legislation he says is designed to fight prescription drug abuse and crack down on illegal "pill mills."

Among the co-sponsors are another dozen members of Congress from Florida -- the nation's top supplier of illegally prescribed and purchased prescription medications.

“Today, we take a crucial step toward putting these pill mills out of business,” Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said in a news release. “Many of these so-called pain clinics are nothing more than illegal drug distribution networks that bring untold misery to our children, our families, and our communities. I appreciate the bipartisan support I’ve received from members across the country who recognize the severity of this epidemic.”

Specifically, Buchanan’s bill, titled the "Pill Mill Crackdown Act of 2011," would:
  • Toughen federal penalties for pill mill operators by doubling the prison sentence from 10 to 20 years and tripling the fine from $1 million to $3 million.
  • Stipulate that assets seized from violators be used to: fund drug monitoring databases in the states; fund Drug Enforcement Administration actions against pill mills; and support drug treatment programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Reclassify hydrocodone combination drugs to make them a Schedule II drug that is more difficult to prescribe and obtain.
 In addition to the support from at least 25 of his colleagues who have signed on as co-sponsors, Buchanan's legislation has been endorsed by the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse.

“Prescription drug abuse has become a national epidemic that has no boundaries,” said April Rovero, founder and president of the NCAPDA. “The pill mills that are fueling this epidemic simply must be shut down."

You can view the bill here.

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