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Opioid “Pill Mills” Linked to Thousands of Deaths

Written by: Vaishnavi Peyyety, Current Events Staff Writer

Drug overdoses killed over 70,000 Americans in 2017 with the vast majority involving opioids. (Photo Courtesy KVC West Virginia)

FEB. 8, 2023 - Imagine you witness someone walk into the American Pain Clinic in Boca Raton, Fla. From an outsider’s perspective, this seems like a regular doctor’s office where people have been prescribed pain medication. Little did you know you are witnessing one of the largest “pill mills” known in history?
The American Pain shop, run by twin brothers Chris and Jeff George, was one of the most successful opioid cartels linked to the deaths of over a thousand individuals. In the CNN film “American Pain,” viewers witness the rise and fall of opioid kingpins, including recordings, undercover videos, and jailhouse interviews that show the growth of a dangerous pain-pill empire, enabling the addiction of many across the country. Addressing the danger of opioid pill mills, retired FBI agent Kurt McKenzie said: “The George brothers did not start the opioid crisis. But they sure as hell poured gasoline on the fire.”

Retired FBI agent Kurt McKenzie said: “The George brothers did not start the opioid crisis. But they sure as hell poured gasoline on the fire.”


When oxycodone from the George brothers’ clinic showed up at a drug overdose investigation, operation Oxy Alley began. Federal investigators were sent undercover to buy drugs as though they were patients. The clinic was bugged, and videos of these undercover dealings were recorded. According to McKenzie “They became the largest street-level distribution group operating in the entire United States. Nobody put more pills on the streets than they did. Nobody…and they were operating in broad daylight.” Strikingly, one of the George brothers claimed their operation was like the “Disneyland of pain clinics.”

According to McKenzie “They became the largest street-level distribution group operating in the entire United States. Nobody put more pills on the streets than they did. Nobody…and they were operating in broad daylight.”

Chris and Jeff ran four pain clinics, and their dealings correlate to the surge in the opioid crisis between 2008 and 2010. “Before this case, the public only knew that people were dying from drug overdoses, they had no idea how the ‘system’ worked [and] the George brothers created the blueprint” McKenzie states. Recruiting doctors to prescribe medications through large incentives, the brothers’ clinic ran in broad daylight. There were even advertisements for the clinic in local newspapers! The clinic only accepted cash and credit cards but avoided insurance plans to keep their business secret. The pills prescribed by doctors were dispensed by women hired through Craigslist.

To obtain pills, no appointments were necessary. People came from Florida to Tennessee to Kentucky to Ohio to rural West Virginia to obtain pills. Jeff George “believed [they] created a new form of tourism.” One individual even stated how “It’s like a candy store down there.” Throughout this, the George brothers garnered millions of dollars, living lavish lifestyles and buying expensive jewelry. Fake MRIs were conducted to make their prescription process look real. According to court documents, the prescribing physicians “did not obtain prior medical records or prescribe any alternative treatment. They did not make referrals to specialists. Virtually everyone examined by the co-conspirator physicians received a prescription for controlled substances, there was no individualization of treatment as required under applicable federal and Florida law.”

According to court documents, the prescribing physicians “did not obtain prior medical records or prescribe any alternative treatment. They did not make referrals to specialists."

Chris stated that the clinic made $40 million in profit, prescribing 18 million units of oxycodone. McKenzie claims that “Of the 20 highest-prescribing physicians in the entire country, five of them worked at just one of Chris’ facilities. These are real doctors. They have real licenses … and what looked to be a real clinic.” Ultimately, the pill mill was shut down when a grieving father lost his son to opioid addiction. A computer scientist, this father worked with the DEA to record conversations during his work at a local pill mill ran by a different drug kingpin. This ultimately led to the necessary downfall of many pill mills around Florida.

McKenzie claims that “Of the 20 highest-prescribing physicians in the entire country, five of them worked at just one of Chris’ facilities. These are real doctors. They have real licenses … and what looked to be a real clinic.”
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