July 31st, 2009
11:15 AM ET

Morning Buzz: “Pill Mills”

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

More details continue to emerge in the Michael Jackson case. Randi Kaye is in Los Angeles where she is digging deeper on the latest developments. Last night we learned that search warrants, carried out at properties of Dr. Conrad Murray – Jackson’s doctor, imply that investigators looking into his death believe the singer was a drug addict. Randi will have the latest tonight.

Jackson’s alleged dependence on medical treatments prompted us to take a look at how easy it can be to gain access to certain drugs. Regulations vary from state to state. Joe Johns went to Florida, a state that is known for having comparatively lax regulations when it comes to the distribution of pain medication. It has even earned the reputation for having “pill mills.” Some say it’s one of the best sources for prescription drugs. As the state confronts this pain pill problem, Joe talks to drug enforcement agents and learns about the steps Florida’s lawmakers are taking to curb the ease of gaining access to drugs.

Bad news for the clunker in your garage…you may no longer be able to take advantage of the federal program and trade it. The Cash for Clunkers program may be running out of money after only a matter of days, because car buyers have been flocking to dealerships to cash in on the rebates. With the $1 billion budget nearly depleted, the White House is deciding whether or not to continue the program.

And there may be more headaches at the White House this morning. President Obama and Vice President Biden sat down for a beer yesterday evening with the prominent African-American professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and the police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who arrested him earlier this month. Do you think the meeting brought closure to this issue?

Perhaps now that the “beer summit,” has happened, more attention will turn back to health care reform. A key Senate committee announced that it wouldn’t vote on the plan before its August recess, giving Republicans and some conservative Democrats their desired slowdown on the plan. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed off on a key component of the health care deal reached with conservative Democrats. Signs of compromise? Well, maybe not. The move is triggering a backlash by members of Pelosi’s own party on the left. It’s hard to please everybody, isn’t it?

British forces officially leave Iraq today. From a peak of about 46,000 troops in 2003, the British are being pulled out because their agreement to remain in the country expires today. The British death toll as a result of the Iraq war is 179. The pullout comes on a day when at least 24 people were killed after five coordinated bombs exploded in the country. We’ll have more on the situation tonight.

CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen and a panel of political experts will weigh in on all of these challenges facing the Obama Administration and Congress.

What else are you following today? Let us know and tune in at 10 p.m. ET

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Natalie Nelson

    Not only do we have people doctor shopping but you can go right online and order any kind of drug you want with no prescription . All you have to do is put the drug name in your search engines with non prescription in front of it and the computer will tell you where you can buy it what can we do about this?

    August 1, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  2. Kathie

    I think authorities should investigate if Michael Jackson was taking stimulants to maintain the level of energy he did during the days and that would account for his chronic insomnia.

    August 1, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  3. Kristy

    Many pain management clinics in Florida have been targeted as "pill Mills" How can these "pill Mills" be seperated from the doctors whos work at clinics that are truelly trying to help their patients.? When do personal vendettas from an exgirlfiend of a manager at a pain clinic become true interests of the DEA. I have concrete information that an exgirlfriend with political pull has a big say in the latest news interest on a certian clinic in Southwest Florida. This clinic wants a computerized drug data base system, it would help them to weed out the "doctor shoppers". The exgirlfriend has placed friends portraying to be patients and has gone as far as sending falsified information to the florida board of health. Explain this Anderson – How can one individual with such wealth and political stout get the law on her side when her intentions are mearly personal vendettas ? The DEA and other powers that be need to hear this story – a woman involved in a court case in another state has now personally invested her families money and community ties just to attack her exboyfriend ? Please call if you want more information – This is a story that will not only put a new view point on Pain Clinics – but will also open up a whole new blog on political pulls and what money can do when you know the right people.

    July 31, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    I hope they continue the cash for clunkers program - for something to be that successful it evidentially struck a need in the public. And just think of the old polluting cars off the road and the new less polluting cars on the road. Continuing the program will make a real difference – especially if the eligibility standards were expanded so as to include more people. Nice to know that at least one program is working!!

    July 31, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Femi Doherty

    Regarding President Obama's birth certificate, it is now clear that responsible republicans have refused to condemn the hatemongers who claim that the President is not a US citizen. If this is the case, I hope that these republicans willingly accept that they were trounced in the last election by a non American. How pathetic.

    July 31, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Cathy

    I don't see why people are so mystified about MJ's drug habit and the ease with which he procured drugs. Rich and Famous people (Elvis) have always been able to get what they want/need. Let's face it, if you have the money and/or fame, you can feed whatever addiction you have!

    Agree with other posts - President needs to move on and focus on economy, health care, etc...

    But we need to stop fooling ourselves that racial profiling (especially in upper middle class white neighborhoods) isn't happening all the time. That in combination with power mad police who don't want any questions when they confront you... By the way have guns, so I'm alway nice and cooperative 😉

    July 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  7. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    The pill mills story should be interesting. The beer summit was a puzzler. The president spoke with his usual eloquence about a symbolic moment for the nation to improve race relations, and then with everyone anticipating a follow-up speech and mention of what comes next, his attitude was, Why are you making a big deal out of this? So what was the purpose of it? I wish he would act like a real leader. The sergeant and professor were more gracious in sharing what they talked about than Obama was. Still, I think this was the one really interesting story on 360 last night because there was a lot of active video of what led up to the talk and pictures of the talk itself while Candy told the story.

    July 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Good Happy Friday to the 360 team !

    The story abou MJ 's drug habits are disturbing how could he have been taking so many drugs ? The doctor should be thrown in jail for prescribing this meds and using MJ 's star power for his own gain . I hope justice will prevail and this will end with jail term for the doctor . I hope the attention from the beer meeting wil die down and the focus will turn to important things like jobs,healthcare jsut do what's best for everyone .

    Thanks for the buzz

    Michelle D.

    July 31, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  9. Cindy

    There really does need to be a better way to keep up with these "pill mills". It's crazy that anyone can just go to place after place and get med after med just to take it home and abuse it. This prescription drug abuse problem is just getting worse and worse. They need to come up with a national system that pharmacies can log onto that shows every little drug that people are getting. But then again that still won't stop the ones using fake names though huh?

    That "beer summit" was ridiculous and a complete waste of time. It did nothing for race relations at all.


    July 31, 2009 at 11:01 am |