As criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida and the North Florida area, we see the trends in criminal law as they occur. One obvious trend over the last several years is the shift away from more traditional drug crimes involving marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin towards drug crimes involving prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. Florida police and lawmakers are also aware of this trend and have responded by making prescription pill crimes and punishments more serious and making more arrests in this area.
A recent article on News4Jax.com will not do anything to stem the tide of stricter laws and more arrests involving prescription drugs. According to the article, deaths from prescription drugs increased by 9% in 2010, despite increased efforts by law enforcement to crack down on the illegal distribution of these prescription drugs. Governor Scott noted that the government has strengthened laws and regulation as well as budgeted more money for police in an effort to address the rise in prescription drug related crimes and deaths. Of course, throwing more money into regulation and enforcement has never seemed to reduce drug crimes in the past; it only seems to result in more money and resources needed in the criminal justice system and the prison system. Among the drugs most responsible for the increased deaths from prescription drugs, Oxycodone was the number one drug. According to the article, there were almost three times as many deaths in Florida from Oxycodone than cocaine.
Florida is the leading state when it comes to the illegal purchase of prescription drugs. As a result, law enforcement officials have gone after pain clinics alleging they are providing prescription drugs to countless people without following the required medical protocol. We have represented several doctors, pain clinic owners and employees who have been charged with serious felony crimes related to various pain clinics. You can be sure that whenever law enforcement makes a certain crime a priority, they cast a wide net to try and address the issue, and many people who are innocent or only tangentially involved will get caught up in it.