With Kentucky and Other States Putting Heat on Florida Over Pain Pills, DEA Acts

May 15, 2012

Kentucky drug enforcement officials have long complained that many of the illegally obtained pain pills that end up in the commonwealth come from Florida. Tuesday, the US Drug Enforcement Administration settled with a Florida company, Cardinal Health Inc., over alleged large-volume shipments of addictive pain pills in Florida.

The company said as part of the settlement it has agreed to a two-year suspension of its DEA license to ship controlled substances from its Lakeland, Florida distribution center, and improve its anti-drug diversion procedures.

The Wall Street Journal reports the DEA had moved to shut down Lakeland's controlled-substances business earlier this year after the agency concluded the center was moving large amounts of pills to a handful of pharmacies in the Sunshine State. That's considered a red flag to regulators in their effort to rein in the booming black market in pain pills.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, and other Bluegrass State officials have been speaking out this year about the need for states to crack down on doctors that run so-called "pill mills", where physicians fill illegitimate prescription orders. The pills from those orders often end up in other states, including Kentucky.