Senate pill mill bill sails through committeeby Dara Kam | March 22nd, 2011
A Senate committee this morning unanimously approved a measure strengthening the state’s yet-to-be-implemented prescription drug database and creating harsher penalties for pill mills, one of Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s top priorities.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee also stripped out a measure that would have created made it easier for doctors to prescribe tamper-proof narcotics that prevent drug addicts from crushing the pills to snort or inject the pain meds. Most generic drug manufacturers wanted that out of the bill because no generic drugs yet come in tamper-proof form.
Bondi urged the committee to pass the bill (SB 818) to make it easier for her and other prosecutors to crack down on rogue pain management clinics and doctors.
Bondi said she’s “never seen anything like” the illicit pain medication epidemic in her 20 years as a prosecutor in Tampa and stressed the need for the prescription drug database opposed by Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Dean Cannon. A House committee recently approved a measure that would repeal the database created by lawmakers two years ago. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, is refusing to back down from his support for the database.
“It’s unreal. It’s everywhere you go,” she said. “We need a comprehensive plan. We need the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.”
Bondi said drug dealers thwarted by a prescription drug database in their state are flocking to the Sunshine State to purchase drugs and sell them in Appalachia.
Sen. Mike Fasano, the bill’s sponsor, also pushed the committee to sign off on his proposal.
“There’s not a person in this room today…that hasn’t been affected by this epidemic,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said.