Legislation drafted to assist Florida in combating the illegal prescription drug trade passed the state Legislature with overwhelming approval this week. And though Governor Rick Scott expressed uncertainty over some elements of the bill early on, he’s expected to sign off on it when it crosses his desk.
Florida has seen pill mills, or storefront medical centers that disperse dangerous prescriptions drugs with little regulation, pop up like gangbusters over the past several years. Many states in the southeast and Appalachian regions blame Florida’s lack of regulation for their own problems with he prescription drug trade. Traffickers get their goods in Florida where they’re easier to obtain and bring them back to the states where regulations are tighter.
A prescription database was authorized in 2009 legislation but has failed to take shape, as we told you about a few months ago. The latest bill, however, seeks to have the database up and running by August of 2011 by addressing some of the Governor’s concerns about privacy issues (something other states say isn’t an issue at all).
The database will require doctors and pharmacists to report prescriptions within 15 days of issuance. According to the most recent piece of legislation, authorities working on the database will be required to undergo an FBI background check. Also, police will only have access to the list when they are seeking information on a specific case.
The bill’s most significant change is designed to take power away from the often unscrupulous pill mills. It bans doctors from dispensing addictive painkillers directly from their offices or clinics. This is precisely why pill mills made it so easy for addicts and dealers to get their goods—it isn’t unusual for these clinics to provide the drugs without even so much as an examination.
Both the House and Senate passed the measure unanimously and a spokesperson from the governor’s office states that his previous qualms have been satisfied and he will be signing the bill into law.
Despite the ease at which many people have been able to obtain potent prescriptions, whether to feed an addition or treat a true medical problem, the laws penalize people in violation of possession of prescription drugs quite harshly. As a matter of fact, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that a person with a genuine need for the drugs could get caught up in the system, facing criminal charges.
If you are facing any drug charges related to prescription drugs, you could use the help of an aggressive defense lawyer. Contact our attorneys today to discuss the details of your case and for a free initial consultation.