With House and Senate leaders struggling to find a compromise on differing bills to combat the Florida's prescription drug abuse epidemic, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott appeared Saturday on Fox News to talk about the state's attempt to deal with the issue.
Scott made no mention of the Senate pill mill bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. But he did talk about the House bill being managed by Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill.
"We have a great bill coming through the House that will prevent doctors that prescribe from dispensing drugs," Scott said. "We're going to track from the manuuaturer, to the distributor, to the doctor to the user. We're going to stop this."
That tracking system, as well as a dispensing ban for doctors and small pharmacies and a 5,000 monthly dosage limit on prescriptions for each pharmacy are in the House bill only.
Scott also touted his law enforcement Strick Force, and Bondi talked about the prescription drug monitoring database.
"These are drug dealers wearing white coats. We have a lot of great pain management doctors but that's not who these guys are. They're a cash only business. It's to $200 to $300. They have armed guards at the door. There are lines of people around the building. And they're drug dealers. And they're addicts going in to get more pills," she said. "Once the governor and I, and the House and Senate get done with our legislation, we're going to do everything in our power to put them out of business because we've got to have people stop dying from this."
At least seven people die day in Florida because of prescription drug abuse. And easy access to powerful painkillers has made Florida a destination for addicts and drug dealers around the country. That's put Florida in the national spotlight as other states attempt to combat their own prescription drug abuse epidemic.
The House bill, though, has raised raised concerns that it will hurt the business of small pharmacies and make it difficult for people who legitimately need pain medication to get it. Expect a compromise on that issue next week -- perhaps a loosening on the pharmacy restriction and an increase in dosage limits.