Saturday, April 9, 2011

Florida Set To Launch Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Database

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses the upcoming launch of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Database.

Issue:

Florida has had an approved statue on the books to implement a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Database for some time.  When Gov. Rick Scott took office, he and Republican House Speaker Dean Cannon objected to the database citing privacy concerns.  Despite these and other objections, the Florida Department of Health green lighted the program and has enlisted a vendor to create the database.

With the legal issues resolved, and the program mandated by Florida statute, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Database will likely become a reality in the very near future and may hold unintended consequences for Floridians.


Why This Matters To You:

Any state run “monitoring” program should cause concerns for Floridians.  While the focus of the program will be to identify and arrest pill mill operators and real drug traffickers, there is a potential for citizens to be improperly identified by the new and untested technology.  Additionally, any Floridian that has or will ever receive a prescription from their physician should have patient privacy concerns regarding the database.

There are also many loopholes in the new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.  For example, there is no requirement that doctors check the database before prescribing pain pills to a patient.  Thus patients may still be able to “doctor shop,” or go from physician to physician seeking the drugs they are addicted to.

The database will seek to identify pill mills that are parsing out controlled substances and pain pills including OxyContin, Vicodin, and Xanax among others, but any program that relies on technology is susceptible to errors when attempting to identify potential subjects.


What To Do Next:

If you have been arrested for a drug related crime contact a St. Petersburg Drug Charges Attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending drug charges offenders throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL Area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota).