The son of Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper was arrested this morning in a law enforcement raid of pain pill mills in South Florida. Zvi "Harry" Perper was arrested at 10 a.m. of Delray Pain Management, which he owns with another man, Kenneth Murry.
I questioned the medical examiner about his son's trade back in May. Here's what Joshua Perper said while defending his son's occupation: "If a physician is giving pain pills for legitimate reasons, there's nothing wrong with it -- it's part of the practice of medicine. When a physician is giving it out indiscriminately, it's a violation of law. [Harry] assured me that he is operating in the proper practice of medicine, and I have no reason not to believe him. As long as he is doing this ethically and in the best interest of the patient, there is nothing wrong with it."
Apparently a task force of DEA agents, deputies with the Broward and Palm Beach sheriff's offices, and several police departments didn't buy it. Harry Perper prescribed 387,000 oxycodone tablets in the first half of 2010, making him the 22nd-most prolific prescriber of the drug in the U.S. for that period, the Herald reported.
"I don't know where else you can go for a higher profit margin than that," Trouville said.
The task force is shutting down dozens of pain clinics from Miami to Palm Beach and making numerous arrests. From the Sun-Sentinel:
[D]uring a Delray Beach raid that began about 10 a.m., agents arrested Dr. Zvi Perper, the son of Broward Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper. He is the listed owner of Delray Pain Management, 201 N. Swinton Ave. though the facility is run by manager Kenneth Murry, who opened it in early 2009.
Perper was led out of the clinic in handcuffs and beige medical scrubs and escorted to a Delray Beach police car. Questions shouted from a phalanx of reporters included one asking Perper if he thought this day would ever come.
"No," he said, refusing to say anything further.
While Joshua Perper defended his son's work, he was vocal about the dangers of the pill mills. In June 2009, he was in the Miami Herald talking about the dangers of doctor shopping, a practice in which people go to numerous clinics to stockpile dangerous and highly addictive pills like oxycodone, Xanax, and Valium. "It's almost impossible to monitor different people shopping doctors,'' Perper told the newspaper at the time. "A person can get hundreds or thousands of pills.''
He went on to talk about the explosion in oxycodone-related deaths, which ballooned to 171 in Broward County in 2008, more than double the figure from 2005. He also complained in the Sun-Sentinel about the increase in pain pill deaths.
Neither of those articles mentioned his son's involvement in the pain pill business.
Here's a photograph of the line outside the pain clinic raided above that was shot by Cal Deal this past April.
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