Ky. officials ramp up criticism of plan to cancel Florida drug monitoring; U.S. drug czar says Fla. governor may lack facts

Kentucky officials continue to rail against Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to cancel his state’s prescription-drug monitoring program, a move they argue would keep the pipeline open for Kentucky dealers who head to the Sunshine State to get drugs.

“The callousness of this governor is absolutely incredible, with the number of people who are dying,” said Frank Rapier, director of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers have written Scott expressing their displeasure. Kentucky “may have to take legal action,” Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who lacks legal authority to do so for the state, told The Courier-Journal‘s Emily Hagedorn. “Rick Scott is trying to legalize prescription drugs on the street,” Mongiardo said. “The last thing we need is an open spigot to illegal drugs.”
Because Florida is one of few states without a drug-monitoring program, traffickers can to go from doctor to doctor, getting prescriptions for drugs at each stop. More people died from prescription drug abuse in Kentucky than traffic accidents, The C-J reported in a recent investigation. Scott has said the monitoring program is an invasion of privacy, is costly and may not be effective.
The issue was discussed in London Wednesday while R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office National Drug Control Policy, made a stop there. Kerlikowske (right, C-J photo) is in Kentucky to investigate the prescription drug abuse in the state. “I am certainly giving (Scott) the benefit of the doubt that his decision comes from a lack of knowledge,” he told Hagedorn. “So many people in his own state are dying, and others are dying, too.” (Read more)

Yesterday, “Narcotics agents across South Florida descended on more than a dozen pain clinics,” report Scott Hiaasen and David Ovalle of The Miami Herald. They call it “the most dramatic effort yet to curb the region’s booming business of illegal prescription narcotics.” (Read more)

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