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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Battle over pill mill database divides Senate leaders and gov

14

February

Senate President Mike Haridopolos split with the governor and the Senate chairman of the health care budget committee, Joe Negron, Monday and said that he wants to see the state continue to fund the prescription drug database used by law enforcement to pinpoint  patients and doctors who traffic powerful drugs such as oxycodone.

Haridopolos, a fiscal conservative, said he is "the last guy who wants intrusive government but this is a real problem....If the governor's doesn't fund it, I have a feeling we're going to fund it."

Gov. Rick Scott wants to eliminate the $500,000 set aside to create the drug registry, similar to one used in 42 other states to fight prescription drug abuse.

"I think the database is a good idea because people are dying -- literally in the streets, in the back of cars, from these drug havens,'' said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. He said he has a close friend whose daughter would feed her drug habit by driving from North Florida to South Florida to obtain prescription drugs at the pill clinics. "Eventually some of these kids are going to die. Luckily this girl got out of it and she got some treatment.''

Haridopolos said he supports Attorney General Pam Bondi's efforts to expand on the registry by imposing new criminal penalties for bad doctors and fraudulent clinics, suspension and fines for doctors who violate standards of care and increased enforcement tools for prosecutors.

Scott said Monday that he also supports Bondi's efforts but disagrees that the state should operate the drug database, approved by lawmakers in 2009 and paid for with private grants.

"I don't think it's the state's responsibility to be tracking everybody, every individual drug interactions,'' Scott told reporters after touring the Department of Children and Families on Monday.

[Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 7:15pm]

    

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