Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Prescription Drug Tourism Fought by Databases


Prescription drug tourism has become a major problem in the United States, people will travel to states like Florida as well as other states with lax prescription drug laws to acquire drugs like oxycodone and then sell them across state lines. Florida has been in the news a lot lately because of their high volume of “pill mills” and pain management clinics where people have been able to get just about any pain killer they desired. While Florida has begun cracking down on such activities, implementing a new database, the problem is still severe.

A man was arrested with 6,000 oxycodone pills in Connecticut which he told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he would travel to Florida several times a week to buy huge quantities of pain pills, according to USA Today. The man bribed airport officials as well as police officers to help make his traveling go smooth, carrying as many as 8,000 pills at a time. More than a dozen other people made such trips between Connecticut and Florida, selling tens of thousands of pills in the past year.

Fortunately, states have begun working together to curb the ever growing problem by linking their databases together. Missouri and New Hampshire are the only states who have yet to pass laws to set up prescription drug monitoring programs.

In August, Kentucky and Ohio linked their drug monitoring databases and they are now working with West Virginia and Tennessee to coordinate databases and investigations. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill designed to curb prescription drug abuse by monitoring pill mills in the state. The law authorized the creation of a prescription-drug monitoring program, new penalties for physicians who over-prescribe medication, and put in place stricter rules for operating pharmacies. Florida’s crackdown on pill mills has prompted some of the clinics’ operators to move their business’ to Georgia.

The state has approved a prescription drug monitoring program, but it will not be in effect until 2013.

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