Gov. Rick Scott surrendered after his lengthy battle to block online prescription monitoring, but not until the newly elected pol saw his popularity tank.
After prolonged resistance by Tea Party favorite, multimillionaire Gov. Rick Perry, the state of Florida will see its statewide database that logs all prescriptions finally go live. The Sunshine State has, in recent years, become known as the national “pill mill” capital as doctors and quacks alike set up pain centers and storefronts to dispense vast quantities of prescription painkillers like OxyContin—all highly restricted Scheduled II or III drugs—to dealers and addicts, but rarely to any patient seeking legit pain management. Millions of black market pills are then smuggled north to supply the Eastern U.S. with the nation’s no. 1 substance addiction. The online system will allow doctors and pharmacists to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing or dispensing, allowing them to identify and deny “treatment” to tens of thousands of “doctor shoppers,” who go from doctor to doctor collecting prescriptions for controlled substances. However, a loophole will not require doctors to check the database before they issue a new prescription. Although a vast majority of Floridians supported the software surveillance of prescription abuse, which has proved effective in combating the rising tide of prescription drug abuse in the 35 other states that have implemented equivalent databases, newly elected governor Rick Scott staunchly opposed the measure, repeatedly seeking to repeal the law and preventing it from taking effect, tossing out budget challenges, privacy concerns, “big government” and other random rationales for has his primary objection. Scott backed down only when the public, the media, and many members of the state Republican Party and his own health department stood up to him.