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Is a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Coming to Florida?

In recent years, many states have developed and implemented special programs to address the United States’ growing prescription drug problem. They are called Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMPs.

Currently, 34 states have implemented PDMPs, and six states, including Florida, have passed legislation to develop a PDMP but have not implemented them. A PDMP is a statewide database of data on controlled substances dispensed within the state, including those distributed at pharmacies.

Florida’s PDMP

Florida’s drug-monitoring program was supposed to take effect in December of 2010, however, it has not yet been fully developed and functional. Further, the PDMP is going through political battles in Florida legislature and it remains to be seen what form-if any-it will take when it becomes operative. A variety of professionals including pharmacists, physicians, and law enforcement officials, as well as those individuals in the database, will have access to the monitoring program’s data.

PDMP supporters claim that the system has several advantages. First and foremost, they believe monitoring programs help address prescription drug abuse and addiction because it makes addicts easier to identify for enrollment in potential treatment. It’s also claimed that PDMPs help support legitimate use of prescription drugs and help educate the public about prescription drug use.

However, the Florida PDMP program is not without opposition. Some individuals, including House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R-Miami), believe that the PDMP will do more harm than good. Lopez-Cantera claims that if Florida implements its PDMP, it will become just another big government program that penalizes law-abiding citizens who become addicted to pharmaceutical drugs that they acquired through a bona fide physician.

Lopez-Cantera believes that PDMPs target the wrong group of people-the addicts-rather than pursue the source of the problem: bad doctors who prescribe an enormous amount of prescription drugs, more than their “patients” could conceivably take for health reasons.

Florida’s Prescription Drug Epidemic

Locking up prescription addicts for drug crimes does not solve the state’s prescription drug problem. Investing in the rehabilitation and education of prescription drug addicts is one alternative. However, current laws come down hard upon those accused of illegally possessing even small amounts of prescription drugs.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for the illegal possession of prescription drugs, please contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney to help build a solid defense strategy.