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Florida “Pill Mill” Bill Passes House and Senate; Governor Plans to Sign Measure

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Florida’s House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill designed to shut down “pill mills,” pain clinics that cater to people shopping for opioid medications. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has long opposed the drug monitoring database that is part of the legislation, said he will sign the bill into law, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The legislation imposes new penalties for physicians who overprescribe medication. Doctors will not be allowed to dispense painkillers in their offices or clinics. There are some exceptions, including surgeons and hospices. Proponents of the bill hope it will stamp out Florida’s reputation as the epicenter of the country’s illegal prescription drug sales.

Drug monitoring databases – which allow pharmacists and law enforcement officials to keep track of prescriptions — have been established in 42 states to prevent “doctor shopping” and to quickly identify doctors who are passing out prescription medication illegally. The Florida bill shortens the deadline that doctors have to report prescriptions to the database from 15 days to seven.

Governor Scott had said his opposition to the database is based on concerns about cost and patient privacy. In part to allay privacy concerns, the bill requires that administrators of the database undergo FBI background checks. The article notes that law enforcement can only use the database as part of an active investigation.

The drug monitoring program is expected to be up and running on August 28, the newspaper reports. Private funds are expected to cover set up costs and the first 18 months of operation.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Christy Howard
    Christy Howard / August 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    My husband is 61 yrs old. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in Sept 2011. He received radiation therapy. He, by his radiology oncologists opinion, has had the most extreme side effects. He completed his last radiation treatment on Dec. 19,2011. He has lost hearing in his ear, he experienced trismus (lock jaw), his mouth is raw, his jaw bone is visually exposed, his teeth are decayed. His oncologist was prescribing his pain medication for many months. His oncologist states now, that he can no longer do so as he is now not under his treament and therefore not a patient. My husband is receiving hyperbaric oxygen treatment to rejuevinate the tissue in his mouth. He is receiving HBOT 5 days a week and is in the hyperbaric chamber 2 hours every day to repair the damage caused by the radiation.The fact that his oncologist will not treat his pain outrages me, as he is the doctor responsible for the barbaric side effects of radiation treatment. The oncologist stated he is “not allowed” to prescribe his pain medication. That statement is false. The fact is he does not want to be scrutinized due to this well intended , though detremental to cancer patients. We are not alone. There are many in Florida who are forced to go to reputable, insurance accepting pain management clinics. Some of these legitimate clinics undermedicate their patients as there is a limit on the number of pills they are allowed to prescribe each month. My heartfelt gratitude is extended to all “pill mill’ doctors and our Florida Legislation that does not make exceptions for cancer patients.

  2. Avatar of Rob
    Rob / May 9, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I believe that there needs to be controlling of the meds and doctors but 5000 pills a month when you have most of Florida’s population being senior citizens and major auto accidents occur in this state than most others, howhever 5000 pills a month is rediculiuos per pharmacy thats 20 patients per month. This is the only economy in Florida wether you believe it or not from Doctor to Pharmacy to the street. You stupid law activists don’t think before you pass a bill.

  3. Avatar of George
    George / May 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Now THERE is a wise use of government funds!!! Thank you! Finally, some control over the most deadly of heroin dealers. Prescribing opiates (made from or made to mimic opium )to not only those of us suffering from addiction. But also to non -suspecting patients who dont realize that once you are dependant upon opiates, you always will be. There ARE other sources of pain relief that, while many are addictive, the withdrawal symptoms are more bearable and not as long -lasting. I have been in recovery for 9 years and have encountered many such people. Break a leg,take pills perscribed by a physicia and never heal from the “medicine “. I have even talked to several people who only use heroin when they can’t get their “meds “. They have said isn’t nearly as effective but it helps ease or avoid withdrawal

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