Elected and law enforcement officials are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to change his recommendation to eliminate Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
The Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday:
“It’s critical that we have that database,” Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said. “Otherwise, Florida is going to remain a problem state for pill mills. It is a huge step backward to rescind that [system]. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.”
Forty-two other states have approved the databases, with at least 34 in operation so far. Drug dealers and addicts know which states don’t have them, and that’s a big reason they flood across the Southeast to Florida’s pill mills, said Mark Trouville, special agent in charge of the South Florida office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Sentinel also said that R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, recently requested a meeting with Scott.
The Florida Independent reported last week that U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., also wrote a letter to Scott, calling on him to stop the repeal of the program.
The Sun-Sentinel reported last Thursday that while Health and Human Services Committee lawmakers expressed concern about Florida’s pill mill problem, some questioned whether illicit clinics and unscrupulous doctors would report honestly through the program, and cited a lack of conclusive evidence that databases curbed drug supplies, distribution or abuse.
The National Drug Control Strategy released in 2010 acknowledges that prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States.
According to the Florida Medical Examiners’ 2009 report, drugs that caused the most deaths in the state included oxycodone (1,185) and hydrocodone (265). The report also shows a steady rise in the number of deaths due to the use of oxycodone from July 2008 through December 2009.