Broward County Ordinance Regulates Pill Mills

Posted on 24 May 2011 by LeslieM

Broward County Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance regulating Pain Management Clinics in the unincorporated area and have agreed to educate and encourage all cities to adopt the same ordinance.   The ordinance also included amendments by Commissioner Kristin Jacobs to prohibit these clinics from operating within 1200 feet of another pain management clinic, place of worship, child care center or educational center.  The Pain Management Clinic ordinance is intended to serve as a model Ordinance for cities to consider in establishing regulations for pain management clinics within their municipal jurisdiction.

“The intent is to have a uniform ordinance across all jurisdictions to prevent loopholes, “said Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. “Our next step is to take this to the cities for adoption.”

Commissioners authorized the lobbying of cities on behalf of Broward County in order to meet guidelines set in the Broward County Code of Ethics.

“We need to treat this like a 31 city campaign.  We should let our cities know that all nine of us support this ordinance and want the same ordinance enacted in all cities,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.   Commissioners LaMarca and Jacobs have participated in protests outside of Pain Management Clinics organized by the group STOPP NOW—Stop the Organized Pill Pushers.

The ordinance provides a specific legal definition for Pain Management Clinic, creates zoning regulations in unincorporated Broward County and mandates a “Certificate of Use” which requires the following:

  • name of the owner/operator
  • proof of registration with the Florida Department of Health
  • an affidavit stating that no one convicted of a drug-related felony within a five year period will work, volunteer, or be allowed on the premises
  • limited hours of operation between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday
  • posted Certificate of Use in a conspicuous and easy to read location
  • one parking space per ten gross square feet of customer waiting area and one parking space per two hundred gross square feet of the remainder of the building
  • all activities be conducted within a completely enclosed building

The ordinance states that Pain Management Clinics already legally in existence must comply with the requirements within 60 days of the effective date and provides one year for pre-existing clinics to comply with parking and location requirements.

Currently there are no Pain Management Clinics in unincorporated Broward County. Any Pain Management Clinic wishing to operate in the unincorporated Broward County area would have to apply for a Certificate of Use and associated business fees would be collected under the proposed ordinance.

In March, the Broward County Pain Management Clinic Task Force issued its final report with recommendations for the licensing and location of pain management clinics otherwise referred to as “pills mills”.   The Commission instructed the County Attorney to draft a model ordinance based on those recommendations.

Broward County has been referred to as the “pill mill” capital of America. In 2009 a Broward County Grand Jury issued a report noting the proliferation of pain clinics throughout the County. The number of pain management clinics in Broward more than doubled from August 2008 to November 2009.



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