Gov. Rick Scott has a new plan to attack crooked pain clinics, committing $800,000 to beef up criminal investigations into shady operators and rogue doctors as well as drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and street dealers, the Palm Beach Post reports. The plan calls for a “Drug Strike Force” made up of dedicated squads in each of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s seven regions. The teams will incorporate state and local criminal investigators and regulators from the health department and other state agencies.
Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi said sheriffs and police chiefs will run local “strike teams” but otherwise were vague about how the task forces will work. In Palm Beach and Broward counties, where dedicated prescription drug task forces already are in place, the announcement left cops and prosecutors wondering whether the statewide push will dovetail with local efforts. Brian Hughes, a Scott spokesman, said the money for the strike force will come from consolidating grants that the state law enforcement agency was using to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies.