Two Florida Brothers Flooded the U.S. With Opioids, Killing Thousands

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Jun 15, 2024

Everyone across every state of America likely remembers the opioid addiction crisis, where thousands of people became addicted, and, in some cases, overdosed on opioids.

While big pharma companies took the brunt of the blame for this crisis, two brothers from Florida — Chris and Jeff George — were running a “business” that contributed to the opioid crisis and caused thousands of deaths. 

The American Pain Clinic in Florida

The George twins ran the American Pain Clinic in Boca Raton, Florida. Hundreds of people would queue outside the clinic daily, wanting some sort of pain relief.

The outside of the South Florida Pain Clinic, with a sign outside.

Source: True Crime News/YouTube

A bouncer would also be at the door of the building, warning customers not to snort their pills in the parking lot and to wait under they got home. This was mostly due to the George brothers not wanting any law enforcement to become suspicious.


The George Brothers Were Enabling Drug Addicts

Many people who were addicted to opioids would struggle to get them from anywhere else, which is why they had to go to the George brothers.

An image of Chris and Jeff George.

Source: True Crime News/YouTube

While multiple large pharmacies were already involved in the opioid crisis and had started the beginnings of it, the George brothers exacerbated it, enabling drug addicts in the process.

Opioids Are Highly Addictive

Opioids are a highly addictive substance and are often found in painkillers that you can get from over the counter. They are addictive as they trigger powerful reward centers in your brain that make you feel good.

Green pills spilling out of an orange bottle.

Source: Alexander Grey/Unsplash

Not everyone will become addicted to opioids as it tends to depend on personal circumstances. However, an average of 90 Americans die every day due to opioid abuse.

Healthcare Professionals Were Complicit

The George brothers were able to run their business so successfully because they had several healthcare professionals in on their plan who were more than willing to be complicit in it.

A doctor in a white lab coat, stethoscope around their neck, and holding a grey smartphone in their hands.

Source: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

This included doctors, suppliers and manufacturers. While the patients were seeing healthcare professionals, these so-called professionals were still willing to prescribe people opioids who shouldn’t have been taking them, which ultimately led to thousands of deaths.

Opioid Crisis Leading to Bankruptcies

There have been a string of Chapter 11 bankruptcies from 2023 into 2024, and the pharmaceutical industry seems to be a large part of this.

A pile of papers with “Petition to file for bankruptcy” at the top.

Source: Melinda Gimpel/Unsplash

Many pharmacies that were front and center of the opioid crisis had legal and financial troubles as they tried to clear their names. While it’s unknown exactly how pharmacies got to this point, the opioid crisis is likely to be part of the reason why these companies are now filing for bankruptcy.


The George Brothers Didn’t Think the Opioid Crisis Was Their Problem

Despite contributing to the opioid crisis, the George brothers have thought that the crisis is not their problem and that it has more to do with those who became addicted to the substance.

Chris and Jeff George, each holding a blue envelope.

Source: @gallexie5060/X

They believed that opioid addiction is no different than any other, as people have “always overdosed.” They also believe that “you have to be an idiot to get hit by a train,” which happened to a carload of their customers after they had left the clinic.


The George Brothers Trafficked $500 Million in Pain Pills

This wasn’t a small business the George brothers were running, as they managed to traffic more than $500 million in pain pills throughout their time running the Pain Clinic.

White circular drugs against a blue background.

Source: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash

They referred to the clinic as the “Disneyland of pain clinics” and were able to make themselves millions in the process with their money-making scheme — while others died due to their addictions.


A Question of Legality

Even though what they were doing was technically legal, many people at the time wondered how legal this actually was.

A brown wooden gavel next to a wooden block on a white marble surface.

Source: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

Even though the doctors were giving out thousands of prescriptions for painkillers, if there was any questioning as to the legitimacy of a patient’s pain complaint, they would send them to get an MRI from a semi-truck parked at the back of a strip club. While the location wasn’t the typical location for an MRI scan, everything that was going on was still perfectly legal.


Opioids Were Found Near the Bodies of People Who Overdosed

The George brothers may have thought they were being discreet with their business, but the police were onto them long before they even realized, as opioids were found near the bodies of people who had sadly overdosed on the drugs

Orange and white pills spilling out of a clear container onto an orange surface.

Source: Christina Victoria Craft/Unsplash

This included Roxicodone being scattered around people who were killed in a car crash and oxycodone that was found near the bodies of others who had overdosed.


Thousands of Americans Died From Opioid Abuse

The American opioid abuse scandal of the 2000s led to thousands of deaths. In 2008, over 14,000 had died from painkiller overdose. In 2009, this number had gone up to 37,000.

Multicolored drugs in packets.

Source: Roberto Sorin/Unsplash

In that time, the initial numbers had doubled, which meant that the number of people who had died from opioid overdose was more than the number of people who had died from a car accident — the first time this had ever happened.


The George Brothers Served Time in Prison

Due to being part of the reason why tens of thousands of people had died from opioid abuse, the George brothers were eventually arrested and went to court, where they were found guilty and, ultimately, served time in prison. 

A black-and-white image of the inside of a prison. Cells are on either side of a corridor, with bars across the cells.

Source: Emiliano Bar/Unsplash

Chris ended up serving 11 years in prison, whereas his brother Jeff is still serving his twenty-year sentence due to being found guilty of the additional charge of drug overdose murder.