Two suspected pill mills closed, about 75 arrests in prescription drug operation

About 75 people were arrested and two suspected pill mills in Central Florida were closed as part of a multi-county, multi-agency operation aimed at battling the region's prescription drug-abuse problems.

The results of the two-month initiative, considered the second-phase of an operation that yielded about 170 arrests last year, were announced Monday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Most of the people arrested in this year's operation face prescription-drug trafficking charges.

From Jan. 1 to March 1, law-enforcers in Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties seized about 28,000 prescription pills — largely the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone, and the sedative alprazolam.

Two suspected pill mills in Orange County were shut down during the operation — A Stop Pain Management on Colonial Drive near Old Cheney Highway; and Total Medical Express of Orlando, on South Semoran Boulevard near Hoffner Avenue.

Both clinics were closed by the Florida Department of Health due to license violations.

Health department officials found that A Stop Pain Management's operation as a pain clinic violates state laws, and cited an "immediate, serious danger" to the welfare of the public.

Also, a state inspector who visited the clinic last month found shortages of painkillers in the clinic's inventory.

In October, new Florida laws went into effect requiring that pain clinics be owned by a physician. A Stop is not owned by a physician, and so its license was revoked. It was shut down Feb. 4.

But, in the event A Stop Pain Management does acquire a physician-owner, it could not re-open in Orange County because of a moratorium on new pain management clinics passed by County Commissioners.

The Department of Health in January denied the application for Total Medical Express of Orlando, also doing business as Orlando Pain and Rejuvenation, to operate as a pain clinic.

A health department document said the grounds for denial were based on a pending unlicensed activity investigation. or 407-420-5735.

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