Pressure is mounting on Florida to do something about the state's pill mill problem. The US Drug Czar along with law enforcement officers from other states are growing frustrated because people are flocking to Florida, loading up on painkillers and overdosing. A new prescription drug database would stop the doctor shopping, but Florida's rogue governor isn't having it.
Florida is ridden with pill mills. During a six months period, nine million painkillers were prescribed in just two south Florida counties. Seven deaths a day are attributed to people in Florida illegally using legal drugs. Lawmakers created a prescription drug database to curb the problem. The database set to go online this spring would track people who go from doctor to doctor collecting meds.
Governor Rick Scott is taking a defiant stance against the database even though it’s heavily supported by members of his own party. "I don't support the database. I believe it's an invasion of privacy."
The database would help Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi in her fight to stop the South Florida pill mills, but she's reluctant to chastise the governor's decision. "It's my goal to use every tool possible to shut them down. That includes implementing the rules that have been previously frozen."
The tension is building at the capitol as officials line up against the governor or keep quiet. Scott's not only catching heat from lawmakers here in Tallahassee but the Feds and law enforcement officers in other state's are fed up with him because they say the pill mill problem in Florida is also killing resident's in their states.
Senator Mike Fasano, whose legislation created the database says Scott can’t stop it. "It's in law and he can't just, all of a sudden, wipe a law out. As much of what Governor Scott would like to do with some of our laws--he can't just wipe it out."
Legislative efforts are underway in the House to find a replacement for the database that satisfies the governor.
For at least the first year the database would be paid for with 1.3 million dollars of federal grants and private donations.