At a press conference yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott announced his plan to combat Florida’s prescription drug problem, but still resists the creation of a statewide database to track pill prescriptions. At least one Florida sheriff is voicing concern over Scott’s policies.
Joined by Attorney General Pam Bondi and a group of sheriffs and police officers, Scott said that he would launch a “strike force” against pill mills, but still doesn’t support a statewide prescription drug monitoring database.
Scott has repeatedly opposed Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program due to privacy and cost concerns. Critics of Scott’s decision to repeal the database argue that the privacy liability would be no different than swiping a credit card, and that enough funds have already been raised to operate the database for two years. Purdue Pharma, makers of Oxycotyn, even offered the state $1 million to operate the database. Scott refused the offer.
According to a press release, Scott’s “strike force” will assist local law enforcement agencies by “providing intelligence and analytical and investigative support.” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey will serve as the statewide coordinator of the team, and local “strike teams” will be co-led by Florida’s sheriffs and police chiefs.
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube expressed his concerns with Scott’s desire to block the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in an op-ed in the Bradenton Herald published last week.
“I have not quite figured out the strategy being used by Gov. Rick Scott by rejecting the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program,” wrote Steube. “Perhaps he believes this is a way to bring tourists to our state as they flock here to obtain the opiate drugs.”
Below, an excerpt from Steube’s article:
In his State of the State address, Gov. Scott told us how successful he has been luring companies to Florida, thus creating jobs. I suggest that the governor use those negotiating skills to open talks with Purdue Pharma….Perhaps the governor could convince them to give our state $5 million over the next five years, which could reduce their overall payouts to lawsuits stemming from the drug. That money would fund the database for 10 years at no cost to us, and likely bring additional business and jobs to Florida because of the regulations for prescription drugs.