Fort Lauderdale, FL April 4, 2011 – Today, after more than five years of battling thieves, drug abusers, congested and paraphernalia-ridden streets, unlicensed physicians, loiterers, lost businesses and countless other negative consequences associated with being at the epicenter of the nation’s worst illicit prescription drug trafficking problem, the City of Oakland Park has no illicit pill mills doing business within its city boundaries.
“As a direct result of the City of Oakland Park’s moratorium on new pain clinics, state laws kicking in, the tireless work of law enforcement and the strategic efforts of the local prescription drug abuse task force, today there are no pain clinics operating in this city,” stated Richard Pisanti, a Sergeant with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office who has been intimately involved with the prescription drug abuse situation for over 4 years. “Fueled almost entirely by word of mouth, this city became the honey hole of this problem, but thanks to the collaboration of many and to the fact that the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is a great deterrent, these illicit pain clinics are no longer operating here,” he added.
“The City of Oakland Park has done all that is within our realm to rid ourselves of this problem and we knew we couldn’t fight this alone,” said Anne Sallee, Vice Mayor of the City of Oakland Park. “Early on we clearly saw the negative impact and magnitude this issue would cost our city just in terms of resources, crime, luring and keeping legitimate businesses within our city limits and the levels of frustration within our city government and among our residents; so today’s news is a breath of fresh air for all of us,” she stated.
Vice Mayor Sallee shared that City of Oakland Park departments studied what other cities and communities had done in the face of this same issue and came to the conclusion realized that the PDMP is a critical component of ridding the City and the State of this problem. She conceded that this battle has cost the city a lot.
“Today is a great day for everyone in Broward county working on the prescription drug abuse problem,” said Pat Castillo, Vice President of the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse. “While we know the PDMP is only part of the long term solution, we also know that without it, the unlicensed doctors operating out of these pill mills, the dealers that come from all over the United States to Florida and the users will be back because without the PDMP, there’s no perceived risk or threat,” she concluded.
Castillo also noted that while today’s news is important, if the Governor succeeds in repealing the PDMP, the unlicensed physicians, shady business people, drug traffickers from all over the country and the abusers will be back in no time.