Pill Mill Database on the Line

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By: Mike Vasilinda

Every time a pharmacist delivers a prescription for pain pills, the person’s name goes into a state database. The database, which is credited with saving lives, has had a rocky time with funding, and its future is now in the hands of the Governor.

Nationwide, Oxycodone drug deaths are up 3 percent. But in Florida, they are down 29 percent. The most recent comparison is between the last six months of 2011 and the first six months of 2012.

For two years, Florida has kept a database of who is being prescribed dangerous narcotics. Funding has come from private sources and the database was about to run out of money, when lawmakers, led by State Representative Mike Fasano, championed the cause. “A database that has been successful. A database that is saving lives in this state will continue to be able to do that.”, says Rep. Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

Sending a half million dollars to fund the database was one of the last compromises in the legislative session. The problem is that it is lumped together with several controversial items that could bring a veto. Straight from the legislation that passed is a provision that doctors actually check the database to see if someone is an abuser.

Attorney General Pam Bondi says the database has proven its worth. “Because in one case, we are actually able to charge a nurse who had been using the database posing as a doctor so it ended up helping the physician.”, says Bondi.

If the database survives the gubernatorial veto, lawmakers say they’ll try again next year to mandate that the database is checked before the doctors write the first prescription for narcotics.

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