Monday, June 6, 2011

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Florida’s New Pill Mill Law

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Florida’s New Pill Mill Law

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Florida’s New Pill Mill Law

Posted: 06 Jun 2011 02:09 PM PDT

Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has taken steps that will help his state “shed its title as Oxy Express.” Scott signed a bill into law last week that will tighten rules for doctors and pharmacies, and will create a prescription drug monitoring database.

Prescription Drug Database

After much debate, deliberation, and compromise, Florida state leaders have finally come up with a plan that suits most people involved. Governor Scott was originally opposed to the drug database system because of cost and privacy issues, but he was encouraged by Attorney General Pam Bondi to go ahead with the much needed measure. Bondi has been a strong advocate for the database and fighting the prescription drug abuse problem in our country has been her number one priority. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a story of someone who has lost a family member or friend to prescription drug abuse,” Bondi said in a statement. “This legislation will make significant strides in ridding Florida of unscrupulous doctors and pill mills, making our state a safer place to live and raise our families.” (1)

The database will require prescriptions to be recorded into the system, making it easier to monitor on a statewide level who is getting prescriptions filled for things like the much-abused oxycodone. The Federal government is pushing for all states to set up a similar database, and many states already have systems up and running. Florida’s database is expected to be in use by August 28 this year, and is funded by the local law enforcement’s forfeiture funds.

Tighter Regulations on Doctors and Pharmacies

Florida’s new law also carries with it some of Scott’s own drug control methods, including using a strike force to crack down on pill mills. The law puts tighter regulations on doctors and drug distributers, and stricter penalties on those who overprescribe. The bill is truly the work of a combination of lawmakers with different opinions all coming together to tackle a serious problem. “I am proud to sign this bill which cracks down on the criminal abuse of prescription drugs,” Scott said. “This legislation will save lives in our state and it marks the beginning of the end of Florida’s infamous role as the nation’s Pill Mill Capital.” (1)

Florida’s Prescription Drug Problem

An estimated 7 people per day die in Florida from prescription drug abuse. Nationwide, 11,000 people died in 2007 from the epidemic. Florida has long been considered the epicenter of the prescription drug problem, and the Federal government estimates that 86% of oxycodone is prescribed in Florida. One doctor alone in Florida prescribed more oxycodone pills than the whole state of California last year. (1)

Not only have Florida residents had easy access to prescription pills, but people across the country have been affected, as dealers and addicts from all over flock to the Florida pill mills. States directly north of Florida are especially vulnerable to the prescription drug trafficking, and are happy to see Florida crack down. As Kentucky’s Governor Steve Beshear said, “Choking off the pill pipeline from Florida is a key element of our strategy.  Today’s action in Florida is good news for Kentucky, and I applaud their legislature’s efforts.” (2)


(1) Florida Governor Signs Bill Regulating ‘Pill Mills’

(2) New Florida law could help Kentucky’s drug problem

Scott signs pill mill bill into law

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