Missouri Drug Addiction: How Can Florida Stop Its Alarming Prescription Drug Addiction and Abuse?

Are you worried about your kids or someone else in your family taking prescription drugs? You should be – especially if you live in the state of Florida, the pill capital of the U.S. Why is Florida worse off than other states? One major reason is that, unlike many other states, Florida doesn’t have a system to track who’s being prescribed what.

This opens the door to ‘doctor shopping’ – going from one doctor to another, making up stories about symptoms so the ‘patient’ can get painkillers, tranquilizers, and so on – whatever they want, really. And neither the doctors nor the pharmacists who fill these prescriptions have any idea that the patient got the same drug from five other doctors and five other pharmacies earlier that day.

Not only do those ‘patients’ have a prescription drug problem, they’re probably also selling the pills to others who, if they’re not addicted already, may soon be.

What can you do about it? First, check in with Bill Janes, the director of the Florida Office of Drug Control. Janes has been pushing hard to get the state to participate in the prescription drug monitoring program so many states have already adopted.

The program gives doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals, as well as law enforcement and regulatory agencies, computer access to information about prescriptions being written and filled.

When someone goes to a pharmacy to fill their next prescription for OxyContin, for example, the pharmacist can check the person’s history in the computer database.

Likewise, doctors who get a new patient complaining of pain can check the same database.

If the records the doctor or pharmacist see indicate drug addiction or abuse, they can refuse to prescribe the drug or fill the prescription and can counsel the patient on getting help through a drug addiction treatment center.

If the pharmacist or doctor sees that the person is getting far more drugs than he alone could consume, the authorities can be notified and check into whether or not the person is selling the drugs to others.

Worried about your privacy? In Missouri the bill they passed for prescription drug monitoring also included restrictions on which drugs are reported, only those with a potential for abuse are in there, as well as limiting who would have access to the database and severe penalties for inappropriate disclosure of the information.

When you contact Mr. Janes’ office, make sure the Florida bill includes the same safeguards. But realize that this program could have a significant impact on the prevention and treatment of prescription drug addiction and abuse, and maybe keep those drugs out of the hands of someone you care about.

Gloria MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.

[email protected]


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LEGALIZE – University of Missouri – On 5/5/09, fifty SSDP chapters across the country stood with Mexico to mourn it’s lost civilians and call for an end to drug prohibition. This is a shoddy glimpse of our efforts at the University of Missouri. Legalize and regulate “drugs,” eliminate the black market and, subsequently, the gangs and cartels. Manufacture, export and tax these products; create jobs and stimulate our economy. Stop wasting tax dollars on incarcerating non-violent offenders. Treat drug addiction as a public health problem rather than a criminal justice issue; reallocate wasted state and federal resources to education, treatment and prevention programs. End prohibition. End the War on Drugs.


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