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The Pain of Prosecution: Targeting Pain Clinics

By: Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer Bradford Cohen

Criminal Law- You own a legitimate business, you are a distinguished Doctor with years of experience and now you are the target of a criminal investigation for dealing drugs. Owners of Pain Clinics, as well as the Doctors that work in the Pain Clinic are being charged in State or Federal criminal court depending on the level and degree of severity. The Federal authorities have also been cracking down on what is perceived to be an illegal activity.

The massive amount of advertising certainly does not help. Pick up any local newspaper and you will see dozens of pain clinics advertising to sell narcotics to the public. The amount of pain clinics opening per year is staggering. 70 new Pain Clinics in Broward and Palm Beach have opened last year alone. Recently, the level of scrutiny has increased to an unprecedented degree. Authorities are looking at not just the building the alleged crime is taking place, but the activity taking place outside of the Pain Clinic building. It may come to a point where they will attempt to hold the owner of the clinic responsible for the activities taking place infront of their business, as the knew or should have know that the purpose of obtaining the prescription was for a non-legitimate purpose.

South Florida Federal and State authorities are stepping up enforcement because they see pain clinics as an epidemic. The prescriptions you write must be for a legitimate medical purpose. How do you prove that? There are many ways to protect yourself and your clinic from over zealous police actions. Documentation is the key to a successful defense of criminal charges. Patients should fill out forms requesting the type of pain they are experiencing, the amount of time they have been experiencing the pain, the amount of pill in their last prescription, listing any and all other doctors they are seeing and any and all prescription they are currently taking. All of this should be filled out on a form that is sworn to and notarized. Make sure any x-rays or MRI's presented are current and up to date. An experienced criminal attorney can formulate a sign in sheet for you that may meet the criteria set forth and provide you with some level of protection from false accusations.

If your patient has traveled from Kentucky or Tennessee that may be a sign of a red flag and you should take extra precautions when dealing with that client to ensure you are adhering to all current Florida Statutes and Medical Administrative laws. Due to the stricter laws surrounding medical reporting in those states, the residents are driving to Florida to avoid detection of "doctor shopping."

There is a multitude of new legislation that is working its way through Tallahassee in an aim to prevent drug clinics from conducting illegal activity. One such bill targets non-doctor owned pain clinics. It would essentially ban a pain clinic from selling drugs unless it had a named doctor in charge or it is owned by a doctor. This is an attempt to rid the system of non-doctor owned pain clinics that the State has very little control over. The other is concerning a uniform data base so Doctors will be able to see if the patient is currently on any other medications and in what amounts.

In the future you will see more and more stings and prosecutions of not just the purchasers of the pills, but the Pain Clinic owner's as well as the Doctors that work in the pain clinic. If you are the target of a Federal or State Criminal investigation regarding Pain Clinics or the distribution / trafficking in Oxycodone or Hydrocodone, call Criminal Attorney Bradford Cohen for a confidential consultation regarding your rights.