Pill mill crack down hurts Pinellas woman - WFLA News Channel 8

Pill mill crack down hurts Pinellas woman

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Pinellas County -

Sally Hoyt knows what it's like to live with pain. For the last 12 years, she's suffered from debilitating headaches brought on by a bought of shingles.

"I had shingles in my eye. It cause my brain to swell and I was paralyzed all on the left side," she explained.

Hoyt's constant headaches caused her to turn to pain management. She takes two extended release oxycontin twice a day, as prescribed by her physician at Florida Spine Care in Pinellas County. She takes a drug test there once a month, to make sure she only has prescribed medicine in her system.

Hoyt ran in to a problem over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. She tried to get her prescription filled at her local Walgreen's pharmacy, but was told the pharmacy would not fill the prescription.

"The woman up there says she chooses not to fill my prescription at this time and that's the only answer I get," she said.

The state of Florida and the federal government are both trying to crack down on Florida's notorious pill mill problem. But more and more frequently, patients like Hoyt are getting caught in the cross hairs.

"You're forced to go from pharmacy to pharmacy to pharmacy," she said, a situation that makes her feel like she's done something wrong. "I just want to be treated like I'm not a druggie."

It's an issue Dr. Shyam Gelot said many pharmacists are dealing with. He explained, it's a two-pronged problem. First, Gelot said the Food and Drug Administration does not allow a generic version of oxycodone to be produced. That can result in a shortage of the drug.

The second issue he sees, is that pharmacists are left with the difficult decision of deciding who's a legitimate patient and who's just seeking drugs.

"I think there's more of an attempt to crack down on these pill mills and at the same time, you're having to tease through who's a legitimate person in pain, and who's not," Dr. Gelot said.

He suggests patients like Hoyt request their doctor call and speak to the pharmacy ahead of time, which can often expedite the process.

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