Florida Pill Mill Doc Slapped With 18-Year Sentence

By Shawn Dwyer 06/03/14

Dr. Thomas Rodenberg was one of 11 defendants rounded up in a 2012 investigation.

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A South Florida doctor will spend the next 18 years of his life behind bars for taking part in a massive pill mill scheme broken up by state and federal authorities in 2012.

Dr. Thomas Rodenberg was found guilty by a jury of 14 counts that included racketeering, trafficking oxycodone, conspiracy to traffic oxycodone, and delivery of oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, and methadone. Rodenberg was one of 11 people who were arrested in connection with an investigation into the Pompano Beach Medical facility.

"I thank the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Broward Sheriff's Office for their outstanding collaboration in helping bring this dangerous drug dealer to justice," said Attorney General Pam Bondi. "Just this week, we announced a decline in the number of prescription drug related deaths, and the decline is in large part due to strong collaborations, such as this one."

While definitely a victory for local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which took part via their Miami Tactical Diversion Squad, the drying up of prescription painkillers will most certainly lead addicts to get their fix from street heroin.

In fact, crackdowns on pill mills across the country have directly led to an increase in heroin addiction, particularly in Florida, which has shuttered virtually every pill mill in the state. But that success has only led drug dealers to fill the void with low-priced black tar or Colombian brown heroin.

"This is a direct consequence of the rather successful efforts on the part of the attorney general and law enforcement to close down pill mills," said Frank Rabbito, senior vice president of the drug treatment nonprofit WestCare Foundatoin. "The new drug of choice is heroin because the market changed."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.