Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The rise and fall of Florida's drug monitoring

Sept. 2001: Florida's medical examiners say overdose deaths from prescription painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone went up nearly 60 percent in the first half of the year.

Dec. 2001: At a statewide conference on drug abuse, Gov. Jeb Bush unveils legislation to establish a prescription drug database to stop the misuse of narcotics.

Jan. 2002: Bush's daughter, 24-year-old Noelle Bush, is arrested on charges of trying to fraudulently obtain Xanax, a frequently abused antianxiety drug.

March 2002: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. An average of two Floridians will die of prescription drug abuse every day in 2002.

Nov. 2002: OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agrees to provide $2 million to develop Florida's drug monitoring system. The offer ends a state investigation into its aggressive marketing tactics.

May 2003: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. An average of three Floridians will die of prescription drug abuse every day in 2003.

October 2003: Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, left, acknowledges he's addicted to painkillers. Investigators say he received more than 2,000 pills at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.

May 2004: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. An average of four Floridians a day will die from prescription drug overdoses in 2004.

May 2005: Bills to create the monitoring system are given no chance, so the lead sponsor doesn't even file. Four Floridians a day will die from prescription drug overdoses in 2005.

Dec. 2005: James Dungy, 18, the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, hangs himself in his Lutz apartment. Weeks earlier, he called 911 after taking about 15 pills, including the painkiller hydrocodone.

May 2006: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. An average of five Floridians a day will die from prescription drug overdoses in 2006.

Sept. 2006: Pinellas County sheriff's deputies arrest a physician's assistant at the Doctors Urgent Care Clinic in St. Petersburg after linking prescriptions for painkillers to the death of a 33-year-old man.

Feb. 2007: Anna Nicole Smith, left, dies of a prescription drug overdose at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Florida, an incident many say focused new attention on the crisis.

May 2007: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. Five Floridians a day will die from prescription drug overdoses in 2007.

July 2007: At the sentencing hearing before a federal judge in Virginia for three top executives of Purdue Pharma, Julie Rinaldi of New Tampa speaks of her daughter, Sarah, 17, who overdosed on OxyContin and other drugs. "I'm just here as a mom, a mom that will never be called Grandma," Rinaldi said. The executives pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misbranding a drug. None received jail time.

Dec. 2007: In a visit to a Tampa drug treatment center, U.S. drug czar John Walters points to studies showing that one in eight young adults in Florida abuses prescription drugs. He says the state needs a database.

April 2008: Walgreen's removes the painkiller OxyContin from some area pharmacies and staffs others with armed police officers after at least six local drugstores were robbed for prescription painkillers.

May 2008: Bills to create the monitoring system die in the Legislature. Six Floridians a day will die from prescription drug overdoses in 2008.

April 2009: The Florida Legislature approves a statewide monitoring system to track prescription drugs but refuses to allocate state money to run it. Seven Floridians will die of prescription drug overdoses each day in 2009.

Aug. 2009: Authorities in Pinellas County arrest 21 suspects in an oxycodone drug ring that made $300,000 in less than a year.

Oct. 2009: Nearly 300 people attend a candlelight vigil in Largo Central Park organized by parents who lost children to prescription drugs.

July 2010: The Florida Department of Health awards the contract for the drug monitoring system but the losing bidder protests, stalling implementation. It loses again in December, and stops the process with another protest.

Dec. 2010: Tampa police arrest Dr. Kimberly Daffern, left, a pain clinic physician accused of prescribing more than 1 million oxycodone pills over three months.

Dec. 2010: Gov.-elect Rick Scott announces he will close the Office of Drug Control, the lead agency raising money for the monitoring system.

Feb. 2011: Scott announces his 800-page budget proposal, which would repeal the drug monitoring system.

March 2011: The House proposes repealing the monitoring system, but the Senate vows to block the effort.

March 8: A judge awards the contract for the database, which Attorney General Pam Bondi says "can be an important part of the fight against pill mills.'' The state Health Department, which would run the database, says it will review the ruling to figure out how to proceed.

Compiled by Letitia Stein and Meg Laughlin from state records and Times files

The rise and fall of Florida's drug monitoring 03/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.