State Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, met yesterday to discuss an issue that both have filed legislation over: a Prescription Drug Monitoring Database that would monitor doctor-shoppers and pill mills in the state. The bills are drastically at odds.
State Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, met yesterday to discuss an issue that both have filed legislation over: a Prescription Drug Monitoring Database that would monitor doctor-shoppers and pill mills in the state. The bills are drastically at odds. #
Schenck is sponsoring two bills — one aimed at eliminating the Drug Monitoring Program, and another that would make it illegal for doctors to dispense narcotics. Fasano’s bill, on the other hand, would authorize doctors to take a training course related to the Drug Monitoring Program, and would enhance penalties for pill mill operators. #
Both lawmakers have their supporters. Schenck’s bills are supported by both Gov. Rick Scott and State House Speaker Dean Cannon. Fasano’s bill has the backing of, well, seemingly everyone else. #
“Other than a random constituent who writes an email saying he doesn’t agree with it, I don’t know of a single organization that’s against the [Drug Monitoring Program],” says Greg Giordano, Fasano’s chief legislative assistant. “Maybe Rep. Schenck knows of some.” #
Attorney General Pam Bondi and Senate President Mike Haridopolis have both been vocal supporters of the program. Even Big Pharma doesn’t appear to be against a state drug-monitoring database. Purdue Pharmaceuticals, makers of prescription drug OxyContin, offered to give the nonprofit PDMP Foundation $1 million to help fund the database. Though he has cited funding concerns in the past, Scott turned down the offer. #
Giordano says that Wednesday’s meeting was “very cordial” and that both bills are going to move forward: “Sen. Fasano’s bill has one stop, the budget committee, before it reaches the floor. Schenck’s bills will also advance, and they’ll either come to an agreement or they won’t. … There’s always the potential for changes, but as of this moment, the bills are moving forward as is.” #
If implemented, the Drug Monitoring Program would help curtail Florida’s startling prescription drug problem. The state currently has more pain clinics than McDonald’s restaurants, and an average of seven people per day die of prescription drug overdoses. In 2009 alone, 523 million doses of oxycodone were distributed in Florida. The next leading state, Pennsylvania, accounted for 267 million doses — nearly 50 percent less than Florida. #
A report released earlier this month by the NAACP found that Florida is among the states with the most restrictive felon disenfranchisement laws in the country — one of many aspects of the state's voting practices that will limit voter participation among minorities, according to the group.