Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring System Finally Comes Online

Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring System Finally Comes Online

New Monitoring System is intended to help reduce Florida’s soaring death rate from oxycodone and other prescription drugs. After several years of political and financial problems, and a good deal of heated controversy, Florida’s much-vaunted prescription drug monitoring system has finally come online. As of Thursday, September 1, 2011, the database of patient prescription information for a list of more than 100 potentially dangerous drugs, including the state’s leading killer drug, oxycodone, became a reality. The state has asked doctors and pharmacists to voluntarily file information on prescriptions dating back to December 1, 2010, when the law creating the system went into effect. Doctors and pharmacists won't be officially registered in the system until October 1, and won't be able to get information out of the database until mid-October at the soonest. Physicians will be able to review patient prescription histories, which is expected to help reduce doctor-shopping for the dangerous, addictive drugs, particularly narcotic painkillers like oxycodone. The system will also help prevent prescription drug mix-ups and mishaps.

System helps support new "pill mill" regulations

Medical, public health and law enforcement professionals are all hailing the start of the statewide monitoring program as a welcome addition to the arsenal of weapons aimed at reducing prescription drug addiction, overdoses and deaths. The monitoring system will support Florida’s new pill mill laws aimed at controlling pill mills across the state, many of which hand out addictive drugs to almost anyone with some cash. The new regulations target doctors who overprescribe opioid painkillers, require pharmacies to report prescription information within seven days, make prescription forgery much more difficult and require drug wholesalers to report all sales, among a long list of stringent new rules. The new monitoring system requires reporting of prescriptions for dangerous and addictive drugs, which can only reduce the avalanche of oxycodone and other painkillers, as well as benzodiazepines like Xanax, reaching the streets. Two years in the making, running smoothly so far. It was two years ago when the Florida House of Representatives followed the wishes of the vast majority of their constituents, and approved the database by a vote of 103 to 10. The monitoring system was seen as a vital way to help end the constant litany of death and crime connected to oxycodone and other prescription drugs reaching the streets. Rebecca Poston, the system’s program director in the Department of Health, told Businessweek magazine recently that Florida is the 36th state to create a monitoring system, and that 12 more states have enacted legislation to do the same. "Everything is working wonderfully," Poston said. "I have not heard of any glitches related to the dispensers registering or uploading information in the system.”

Oxycodone epidemic kills 3 times as many as cocaine

Oxycodone addiction in Florida is an epidemic that is killing hundreds of people every year. According to a report from the State Medical Examiners, there were 2,710 deaths in Florida last year from prescription drugs, compared to 2,488 in 2009 - a rise of nearly 10 percent. Last year, 2010, was the second year in a row that more people died from prescription drugs than from illegal drugs. Oxycodone, with 1,516 deaths, killed almost three times as many people as cocaine. Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax were second, with 1,304 deaths, and methadone was third with 694 deaths. Oxycodone is ravaging Florida, and medically supervised oxycodone detox programs tailored to each patient’s health needs, such as those offered by Novus Medical Detox Center of Pasco County, FL, are definitely helping to save lives.

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