Stopping illegal prescription drugs in Florida has become a top priority for law enforcement all across the state and you can now read about pain clinic busts on a weekly basis. The latest operation was conducted in Manatee County by the sheriff’s department and called “Operation Pharmville”. The nine-month operation resulted in two dozen arrests.
The operation culminated on June 18 when deputies busted dozens of Manatee County residents on charges of trafficking, prescription fraud, drug possession and selling controlled substances. According to a sheriff’s spokesperson while crack cocaine is still a major drug problem, illegal prescription drugs are quickly moving into the number one spot as far as drugs are concerned in Manatee County.
The most recent drug bust in Bradenton just added to more than 18,000 prescription pills that have been taken off the streets of Manatee this year, which is up from 160 recovered over the same time span the previous year. Many of the illegal prescription drugs that have been removed from the streets are painkillers like oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone. In 2009, the Bradenton Herald reported that 36 people died of an overdose of prescription pills.
The first reported sale in the operation took place in September of 2009 when an undercover officer bought three oxycodone pills from a 22-year-old man. After another small sale of painkillers the sheriff’s turned their attention to a 28-year-old who passed a forged prescription for 300 oxycodone pills at Bradenton Hometown Pharmacy.
Many of those arrested in the operation had prescriptions with doctor’s signatures that could not be verified leaving investigators believing the signatures were forged and in some cases nothing like the doctor’s actual signature. Many of the illegal prescriptions were attempted to be filled at the Bradenton Hometown Pharmacy, according to the Bradenton Herald story, but pharmacists there continually called to verify the prescriptions with doctor’s leading to many of the arrests in Operation Pharmville.