Kelly L. Rooth, Shareholder
“Operation Pill Popper”: The Battle Against Pill Abuse in Tampa Bay
Prescription drug abuse has become a serious problem inflicting the Tampa Bay area. In 2009, 2,488 Floridians overdosed on prescription pills and died. 681 of these deaths occurred in the Tampa Bay area.
Florida legislatures and law enforcement have been trying to crack down on the prescription pill problem in a variety of ways. The Florida legislature has passed new laws intending to limit doctor shopping and hold accountable physicians who provide excess prescriptions. Law enforcement has also been providing extra resources to catch drug traffickers and pain pill abusers.
In February, Pinellas officials executed Operation Pill Popper I, zoning in on 74 drug abuse suspects, 150 doctor shopping counts, and 55,006 pills that were estimated to be worth $750,000 on the street. This past Wednesday, Operation Pill Popper II, spearheaded again in Pinellas County, targeted 175 individuals on 375 drug-related charges, including doctor shopping, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and conspiracy to sell and traffic a variety of pain pills. The suspects have allegedly obtained or sold over 100,000 oxycodone pills this year. Operation Pill Popper II resulted in 38 arrests.
Operation Pill Popper II was executed by law enforcement from St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials from the Tampa office. Investigators report that the suspects targeted appear to have been part of an organized group that used homeless individuals and addicts to take their identification cards and fake prescriptions to pharmacies to obtain pills. These individuals gave the pills to their recruiters in return for either money or a part of the pill supply.
The recent pain pill cases indicate that the reason behind the prescription pill problem is not only greed and money, but many abusers who have a serious addition problem. If you or a loved one has a pain pill addition or has been charged with a drug crime, there are ways to get help. Drug trafficking is very serious and can result in a mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction. Don’t take any chances on your drug charge. Contact our experienced Tampa Bay area drug crime attorneys at Rooth Law Group today: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.