The prescription drug tracking system which passed the legislature in 2009 is finally up and running as of midnight Thursday night. After issues with funding and an effort by Governor Scott to kill the program, Florida has become the 36th state to create such a system in the battle against prescription drug abuse.
As of yet, there are no entries into the database because doctors and pharmacists have two weeks to comply and get information entered. But the system will eventually be populated with all prescriptions filed and filled within the state.
Though the program initially passed in 2009, it lacked funding and was initially covered by federal grants and private contributions. Additional funding passed the legislature this past spring (as blogged here), but Governor Scott expressed concerns about the bill.
While he was initially expected to approve the funding for the program, Scott made last ditch efforts to kill the program because of his concern over “privacy issues”, something other states with similar programs say has never been a problem. Opposition from the Attorney General and numerous other lawmakers prevented his effort as the program took shape.
The program is designed to fight the booming pill mill industry in the state. Florida has seen the prescription drug trade become a huge problem in recent years. Just a few weeks ago, federal authorities charged 32 people with drug trafficking in Florida for their involvement in pill mills responsible for selling more than 20 million oxycodone pills. One physician, involved in the case, was charged by local officials with first degree murder after a patient overdosed.
Authorities hope that the crackdown on pill mills and medical professionals feeding into the prescription drug trade will also assist in the fight against prescription drug sales, addiction, and related deaths.
The illegal prescription drug trade produces unique problems when compared with other controlled substances. Mostly because these drugs can be obtained via legal avenues as much as they can be on the black market. When pill mills exist solely to provide people with these drugs, the addictions have the potential to worsen and the “professionals” working within these clinics become more and more interested with the bottom line.
Prescription drug addiction can be a tough addiction. Many of these drugs are narcotics, powerful and highly addictive. When you are arrested for having an illegal prescription or for selling drugs like this, the costs are high. Depending on your criminal record and the facts of your case, there’s always a chance your defense lawyer could help you avoid jail time.
Contact our attorneys today if you are accused of a crime related to prescription drugs in Florida.