The Miami Herald looks at the toll taken by the prescription drug abuse epidemic in South Florida, where lax regulation has led to a cottage industry of pill mills. Each day in Florida, an average of seven people take a fatal dose of prescription drugs.
Florida is overrun with storefront pain clinics that dispense millions of pills with scant medical reason. In Broward County alone, more than one million pills are dispensed every month, according to the sheriff's office. And most mornings, dozens of buyers line up outside the county's 130 clinics. They leave in vehicles with tags from Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and other eastern states, with pills to use and resell. In the first half of 2010 alone, doctors in Florida doled out nine times more oxycodone than in the rest of the entire United States during the same time frame.