Florida Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, had harsh words for a component of the state budget proposal unveiled be Gov. Rick Scott yesterday that would eliminate a program created to thwart the Sunshine State’s prescription pill abuse epidemic.
Florida Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, had harsh words for a component of the state budget proposal unveiled by Gov. Rick Scott yesterday that would eliminate a program created to thwart the Sunshine State’s prescription pill abuse epidemic.
Scott’s newly released budget proposals have already seen heavy criticism since being released. Scott’s recommendations to slash teacher, police, and firefighter pensions, as well as essentially eliminate the Department of Community Affairs and cut education by $3 billion, have come under scrutiny from taxpayers and political analysts alike, and even fellow Republicans aren’t happy with his proposals.
One of Scott’s recommendations is the total repeal of the law authorizing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as well as the elimination of the Office of Drug Control. The Drug Monitoring Program was created in part by former Gov. Charlie Crist, former Attorney General Bill McCollum, and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.
Sen. Fasano championed the creation of the Drug Monitoring Program for nearly seven years before getting a bill to Crist’s desk, and in a Tuesday-morning press release, he responded to Scott’s proposal to eliminate the program, saying that it would return Florida “to a status that we do not want or need.”
“It is beyond my comprehension why the governor would propose the total elimination of the two entities that have been and have the potential to be the best tools this state will have in fighting prescription drug abuse,” said Fasano. “Seven people die each day due to a link with prescription drugs. The [Drug Monitoring Program] would have given health care professionals the ability to determine if people are doctor shopping or patronizing pill mills. Without this important program, Florida will take a step back 10 years or more into the past.”
Fasano says that, without the Drug Monitoring Program, Florida will “return to the days as a haven for doctor-shopping and drug diversion.” The governor’s proposal, which must be passed into law by the legislature, will be fought tooth and nail by Fasano, whose press release says he “vows to do all that he can to prevent this from happening.”