The State of Florida is at the epicenter of prescription drug abuse across most of the eastern United States, but Governor Rick Scott seems unwilling to take an easy first step toward solving the problem. Since taking office, Mr. Scott has opposed the establishment of a prescription drug monitoring program — despite the fact that the program would be funded 100% by grants, and would not require any State money.

Governor Scott cites privacy concerns, but leaders ranging from other states’ governors to the White House’s Director of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, believe that Florida is the key to stopping a prescription drug abuse epidemic this is leaving thousands dead and thousands more behind bars.

In an interview in the Orlando Sentinel, Mr. Kerlikowske indicated that Florida continues to be the main supply source for illegal prescription drugs up the East Coast of the United States and into the Midwest. He said it is not unusual at all for Florida prescription bottles to be found near prescription drug overdose victims in Ohio, Kentucky, and other surrounding states. Mr. Kerlikowske has asked for a meeting with Governor Scott to discuss these issues but so far has been ignored.

Mr. Kerlikowske said that, currently, the number of deaths from prescription drug overdoses is greater than deaths from heroine and cocaine, combined. In 17 states, more people die from prescription drug overdoses that car accidents.  Most of those drugs come from Florida.  Mr. Kerlikowske calls it an epidemic, and wonders why that doesn’t outweigh the privacy concerns expressed by Governor Scott.

Mr. Kerlikowski envisions a system where states could share prescription medication information and keep addicts and criminals from crossing borders looking for more drugs. Hopefully, Governor Scott can soon be convinced that this significant destruction of lives outweighs whatever inconvenience he is concerned about for patients.

As I have previously posted, I think a prescription drug monitoring program is a great idea.  If there is any way that we can keep addicts and other from jumping from pain clinic to pain clinic to get medication, I think it is worth it to try — even if we only make it a pilot program and see how it works before making a long time commitment.  Privacy issues — if there are any — would reveal themselves early enough and then officials could make an informed decision about whether the program should be continued.  If we can avoid even one wrongful death, I think it is worth it to try.

If you have any questions regarding prescription drug wrongful death claims, call Orlando personal injury attorney Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444.

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