A state law went into effect last year requiring “Pain clinics” to register with the state and be inspected by the Texas Medical Board if half of their patients received prescriptions for controlled substances. Some clinics are getting around this new law by simply calling themselves something other than a pain clinic.
The majority of these clinics seem to pop up in the Houston area. Thirty-six percent of the state’s 345 pain clinics are located in the city and it seems this is where the largest demands are.
By calling themselves something other than the typical pain clinic, the clinics can fly under the radar, at least for a time, before investigators move in and discover what it is they are really doing.
One facility in Santa Fe, for example, registered itself as a “family practice”. But when investigators looked into the facility, they found it didn’t have any stethoscopes or blood pressure cuffs. The doctor running this clinic was found to be dispensing “hundreds of thousands of highly addictive pills” to drug users.
Another clinic was referred to as an “urgent care clinic”. In this facility, the doctor was also dispensing addictive drugs. Her license was subsequently suspended in January.
These doctors and the pharmacies that work with them, stand to make millions off of the prescription drug trade. Prescription drugs are highly addictive. And whether it’s the addict who gets the prescription or a person working for a trafficker, the doctor and the pharmacy are making a pretty penny.
Many pharmacies are able to do this by concealing how many prescriptions they actually fill for these addictive drugs. One such pharmacy, for example, reported dispensing 95 prescriptions for addictive drugs over a single year period. Digging into their computer systems, investigators uncovered that they had actually dispensed 13,469.
Not everyone who goes to these pain clinics are addicts who need the drugs themselves; some are working for traffickers who will eventually distribute the drugs on the black market. Regardless of who is obtaining them, they are eventually taking lives. In Harris County alone, 188 people have died from prescription overdoses this year alone.
The problem continues to be the wide availability of these drugs and their severe addictive nature. You could be in a car accident, for example, be given prescription pain pills. After just a few weeks you can develop a habit, leading to addiction.
Sometimes it’s not until an addict overdoses or is arrested that they seek help for their addiction. If you are facing criminal drug charges and admit you need help, this could be the right time to seek out treatment. Sometimes, a treatment plan will help you avoid jail time. Contact our offices today to see how we might be able to help.