TALLAHASSEE -- Doctors and pharmacists can now use Florida's prescription drug tracking system.
The database is designed to help crack down on "pill mills" that sell painkillers to addicts and drug dealers. Physicians and pharmacists on Monday could begin getting data from the monitoring system to check on their patients. It's intended to help weed out bogus patients obtaining excessive amounts of drugs.
The system became operational on Sept. 1, after overcoming political, legal and financial obstacles. Since then, doctors and pharmacists have been submitting information on prescriptions for controlled drugs. Only on Monday, though, could they begin accessing the data.
Law enforcement officials say the failure to have such a system until now has helped make Florida the nation's epicenter for prescription drug abuse.