When feisty Pam Bondi took office as Florida’s attorney general in January 2011, 98 of the top 100 painkiller-dispensing doctors lived in the Sunshine State. Today none of them do, thanks to Bondi’s tireless campaign for tough legislation and her hands-on collaboration with the state Department of Law Enforcement.
In an exclusive interview with BizPacReview, the Republican candidate for re-election revealed that her day begins at 4 a.m., in order to tackle the wide variety of challenges confronting the nation’s third most populous state.
“It’s like drinking out of a firehose,” she said, listing consumer protection, fighting human trafficking, handling criminal appeals, stifling synthetic drugs, and shutting down pill mills as her top priorities.
“I learned that seven Floridians a day were dying from pill mill abuse, from oxycodone,” she said. “Pill mills were everywhere throughout our state, especially here in South Florida. And they were legal! It was unreal.”
That’s why Bondi made crippling pill mills her first top priority, concentrating diligently on working with the state House, the Senate and the governor to pass “some of the toughest pill mill legislation in the country.”
In order to counteract the epidemic of human smuggling, Bondi said she employs a multi-pronged approach. It includes using technology to communicate information instantly, especially from emergency room staff in Florida’s hospitals.
“Florida ranks third in the entire country in calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline,” she said. “So two years ago, we passed some great, tough legislation. We’re trying to lock these monsters up for as long as possible.”
Her office also provides training courses for Florida’s police officers and enlists the business community to report suspicious activity. Truckers serve as another set of eyes and ears because they come across so many victims at truck stops, she said.
The former prosecutor told BizPac Review that by teaming up with local, state and federal officials, Florida has received funding for 700 treatment beds, helping 1,400 mothers and their newborns through their battle with drug addiction.
Bondi made a point to compliment her hard-working staffers for their round-the-clock dedication, saying she looked forward to vigorously enforcing the Florida Constitution for four more years.
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