Lately, the only thing more apparent to Florida voters than Governor Rick Scott’s approval rating nose dive is the need for pill mill regulation.

However, despite the unanimous call for drug regulation, Scott is blocking a proposed strategy to drastically reduce the illegal trade of prescription drugs. The governor’s hostility to this essential legislation is keeping Florida at the top of the list for prescription drug related crime and death.

The plan would set up a database to track “pill mill” pharmacies and the drug dealers who frequent them. And best yet, the database would cost the state next to nothing since the law requires the system to be run without tax dollars. Funding would come from federal grants, drug raids and foundations.

While mainstream pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens already have their own tracking system to limit the amount of painkillers given to patients, law enforcement officials say that pill mill clinics, often equipped with armed guards, are free to prescribe and give out massive amounts of painkillers to “patients” with few symptoms. The patients can then repeat the process daily at other local dispensaries.

As prescription drug related crimes and deaths skyrocket in Florida, the situation desperately calls for attention. With all 50 of the top 50 medical prescribers in Florida, the state dolls out 10 times more oxycodone pills than the rest of the country combined, with over 100 pain clinics in Broward County alone, according to Dave Aronberg, newly appointed “pill czar.” One clinic employee, Dr. Zvi Perper gave out nearly 400,000 oxycodone tablets in six months at a Broward County pill mill.

The toleration of rampant pill distribution has devastating consequences: 100 people died of prescription drug overdose last year in Orange County alone. Statistics like these should send shock waves through the governor’s office but are instead received with a lackadaisical attitude. If Scott disapproves of this method to take on the pill problem, then what is his solution?

Scott’s argument against the tracking system is that it invades law abiding citizen’s privacy in order to watch a smaller subset of criminals. In order to stay consistent, Scott’s next move should be to dismantle the Department of Motor Vehicles, which tracks every vehicle registered in the state.

Based on the tracking program’s success in other states, the decision to implement it in Florida would deliver a devastating hit to Florida’s drug markets. Florida has become the epicenter for prescription drugs as drug dealers are controlled by the 38 others states who already use the tracking method with success. According to the Naples News, law enforcement officials say that South Florida primarily supplies the entire eastern coast’s drug dealers with pain killers. Scott has provided no evidence that the program would be less effective in Florida than in other states while numerous law enforcement officials attest to the system’s potential of success.

Additionally, when looking at Scott’s recent decisions, his move against pill mills is hypocritical to say the least. Recently, Scott helped push through initiatives to drug test everyone on welfare and institute random drug testing for all state employees. Apparently, the governor believes there is a rampant drug problem with government workers and his constituents in need of social services. Meanwhile, medical clinics that utilize attack Rottweilers to guard the secretaries go unchecked.

Whether the tracking system is guaranteed to work or not, it is worth a try. Florida is in desperate need of experimentation to try and control its prescription medication problem. Lives are literally on the line while Scott stalls possible solutions.

Click the link below to read an in-depth story on the effect of prescription drug addiction at Boone.

Florida faces addictive ‘blues’

By admin

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