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7 Florida doctors face prescription drug trafficking charges

Doctors have a duty to help patients who suffer from pain day in and day out. Although some patients are in need of minimal medical intervention, others rely on the power of medications in order to live a fulfilling life. But what happens when a doctor's work to help those in pain is viewed as a criminal offense?

Seven Florida doctors are in this very situation as they are accused of prescribing as many as 1,700 oxycodone pills per day to patients at local pain management clinics. The three individuals were arrested in a combined raid from Florida police and federal Drug Enforcement Agency official recently. Each were charged with crimes that include prescription drug trafficking.

The doctors were a part of seven different medical clinics located across the state of Florida. The medical clinics appeared to be doctor's offices, but officials claim that when they went into the facilities, they found little medical equipment. In addition, the doctors are accused of performing only the most basic exams on patients prior to prescribing powerful prescription pain killers.

The prescription drug trafficking charges came in part because of the high number of pain killer prescribed each year. One doctor who was arrested is accused of prescribing 270,000 pills of oxycodone in one year. In that case the doctor's medical license was suspended by the Florida Department of Health pending the outcome of the investigations surrounding the criminal charges.

The serious charges could have long-lasting penalties for the doctors involved if they are convicted of prescription drug trafficking. However, before they can suffer any potential penalties, those who have charged the doctors must convince a court of law that they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charges against them. This high level of proof may offer some hope to the doctors, as it does to all accused of a crime.

Source: usatoday.com, "Doctors accused of drug trafficking in Fla.," Donna Leinwand Leger, June 27 2012

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