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Florida's Proposed 
Prescription Drug Abuse Bill (01-15-02)

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Posted On: <Date Posted>          Updated On: April 13, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

Florida's Proposed 
Prescription Drug Abuse Bill (01-15-02)
By Terence T. Gorski
December 04, 2001

Florida Governor Jeb Bush proposed a prescription drug bill that would create a prescription drug database that would track and cross-reference the prescription drug records of all citizens.  The proposed act would also exempt everyone's prescription drug records from public records laws and make those records available to doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement officers.  

The unintended consequence of this bill will probably be to expand the illicit drug trade by forcing pain patients and people addicted to prescription drugs to seek their medications from the illegal drug market place.

Although similar databases already exist in 18 states, there are serious concerns that these data bases can violate people's rights to medical privacy and make medical patients requiring prescribed pain medication vulnerable to drug abuse charges.  

There are other more effective ways to deal with prescription drug abuse.  A more effective plan would involve public education, training doctors and pharmacists in identification and medical intervention procedures for people who may be abusing or addicted to prescription drug addicts.  It would be a serious mistake to extend the failed drug war policies that treat addicted people as criminals to individuals who may develop abuse or dependence problems related to prescription drugs.  Addiction is a brain disease that responds to appropriate treatment.  It is not a crime deserving punishment. 

The following article from the associated press describes the legislation.

Florida Governor Proposes Prescription Bill
DECEMBER 04, 2001

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Jeb Bush introduced legislation Tuesday that would establish a computerized prescription drug database to stop the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs such as OxyContin.

The measure would also establish penalties of up to 15 years in prison for doctors who illegally prescribe medication.

``There are many legal drugs that when prescribed right and used right have tremendous benefits ... but there are potentials for abuse in legal substances as well,'' Bush said.

Prescription drug databases already exist in 18 states. Florida's data would be exempt from public records laws and available only to doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement officers.

OxyContin, made by Purdue Pharma, is a time-released pain killer; abusers crush and consume the capsules to produce an intense high.

The proposal has the support of the state's Department of Health, Department of Children & Families, and Board of Medicine.

Purdue Pharma spokesman Robin Hogen said the company supports the bill as well.

Other Articles On Prescription Drug Abuse

ADD & ADHD Medication Options
DAWN 2000 Report
Florida's Proposed Bill To Manage Prescription Drug Abuse (01-15-02)
Health Spending Reached $1.3T In 2000
Medications for Alcoholism Treatment
OxyContin - A Prescribing Doctor May Face Murder Charges
OxyContin - Is The Scare Campaign Justified
OxyContin - Manufacturer Plans For A Safer Pain Medication
OxyContin - New York Times Article July 29, 2001
OxyContin - Vermont Stops Paying For Prescriptions To Welfare Recipients
OxyContin - Why DEA Enforcement Is Misguided
OxyContin Abuse Update 010312
OxyContin Deaths In Florida - Students Sentenced
oxycontin murder - suspect pleads guilty
OxyContin: Florida Curbs Distribution
Oxycotin Abuse 010302
Paxil May Be Addictive
Prescription Drug Abuse (04-12-01)
Prescription Drug Abuse - Analysis of Florida Times Union Article of 010804
Prescription Drug Abuse - NIDA Special Report
Prescription Drug Abuse - The Role Of Law Enforcement
Prescription Drug Chart
Prescription Drugs & Relapse
School Violence

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