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What is Florida’s Drug Monitoring Program?

Written by Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law on December 14, 2017

Illegal drug use is not the only substance abuse issue in the United States. Prescription drug abuse is also on the rise. Many people have died from overdoses, and now many states are taking steps to prevent this problem.

In 2010, Florida had more than 900 unregulated pain management clinics. The 49 oxycodone clinics in the state were once selling more than 1 million oxycodone pills a month. Approximately 10 people were dying from prescription drug overdoses in the state each day.

That changed in 2011 when the state’s prescription drug monitoring program became active. The Department of Health manages Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORCSE), which is a database that shows each transaction when a person is dispensed a controlled substance.

The E-FORCSE database collects and stores dispensing information related to controlled substance prescriptions. The information is made available to health care professionals, law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies so that they can perform investigations as needed.  

It costs $500,000 a year to operate the E-FORCSE system. The money is raised through a non-profit, tax exempt foundation. The State Surgeon General appoints the board of directors.

E-FORCSE was implemented to encourage safety when prescribing controlled substances. It also aims to reduce drug abuse within Florida. The system is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as it pertains to protected health information (PHI). It also complies with all other state and federal security and privacy laws.

Controlled Substances Reporting Requirements

Florida Statutes 893.0551 has new guidelines for physicians and pain management clinics. It requires all physicians who dispense Schedule II, III or IV controlled substances to report it each time a controlled substance is dispensed to an individual.

Currently, the transactions must be reported within seven days. However, effective January 1, 2018, transactions involving controlled substances must be reported to the E-FORCSE database by the end of the next business day. This change is from House Bill 557 and ensures that physicians have the most current information available.

How Has Florida’s Drug Monitoring Program Helped?

E-FORCSE has proven to be extremely helpful for physicians in Florida. The problem of overprescribing can be prevented because doctors can easily check a patient’s prescription history and determine right away whether or not a patient has been doctor shopping.

E-FORCSE collected more than 112 million prescription records as of July 1, 2014. More than 25,000 physicians in Florida have signed up for the program. Oxycodone rates have dropped by 41 percent since E-FORCSE has been implemented.

Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in our society. Florida was once known as the “Pill Mill” of the United States, so E-FORCSE is helping the state take the proper steps to prevent abuse.

If you are facing charges for prescription drug abuse, your first step should be to contact an Orlando criminal defense lawyer who will aggressively fight to protect your rights. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law today at (407) 377-0150 to discuss your situation with us.

Posted Under: Drug Charges

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