FORT MYERS, FL--Fewer Floridians are dying from prescription pain medication overdoses for the first time in years, but the state's crackdown on illegal "pill mills" is creating new problems.
To combat Florida's medication death problem, the state created a task force in 2011 to take down illegal pill mill operations and pain medication traffickers.
"Consequently it has made it real difficult for us to do our jobs and be able to fill prescriptions," said Fort Myers Prescription Shop pharmacist Rich Lawrence.
Lawrence says just filling a simple pain medication prescription can be a tremendous feat.
"The rules, if you will, that the D.E.A. has implemented are to prevent diversion and abuse of these medications," he said.
Right now, there isn't a single Florida doctor on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's list of physicians who buy the most oxycodone.
That's forcing patients to scour the area trying to fill their legitimate prescriptions.
One local pain clinic administrator agreed to speak with us only over the phone, fearing retaliation from the drug enforcement administration.
"This is medication that is readily available in the rest of the country, but in the state of Florida they are not," he said.
That makes the docotor's job difficult as well.
"It is practicing medicine backwards. you are not prescribing what the patient needs, you are prescribing what is available," he said.
The states crack down does seem to be working. In two years, the states Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has added more than 50 million records.
Even this week feds arrested ten people in central Florida in a prescription drug trafficking ring.
"I did not get in to medicine to be dealing with all these regulations, but it is the world we live in now," said Lawrence.