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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott testifies before Congress on prescription drug abuse crisis



Gov. Rick Scott's decision to drop his opposition to a prescription drug monitoring database drew plaudits Thursday from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who had personally urged Scott to change his mind.

Scott and Beshear — whose states bookend what's known as the "pill mill pipeline" — testified before a U.S. House committee on the destructive underground prescription drug network that flourishes in Florida, and is "destroying lives" in Kentucky, Beshear said.

"Obviously there is no single answer to this problem, but that is a very effective tool," Beshear said of the drug database. "It's proven to be very effective."

The southern governors, along with the Obama administration's drug czar and victims and survivors of pain pill abuse, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that over the past decade, the selling and abuse of prescription drugs, especially what's known as "hillbilly heroin," or OxyContin, has grown to epic levels. The problem is now so entrenched that the cheap flights and van rentals drug traffickers use to travel from Florida, with its looser laws on pill distribution, to Kentucky and other states are nicknamed the "OxyContin Express." Read more here.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:19pm]


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