Seven people die each day in Florida from prescription drug abuse. That is the stat provided me by Bruce Grant, director of the Florida Office of Drug Control. It’s also one of the reasons Grant wishes the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was about to begin as expected on December 1st. Instead, the long -awaited program — which will track each prescription written in Florida in hopes of reducing the amount of doctor shopping statewide — will be delayed until at least February or March because it’s been opened up for bid a second time. Grant said the program will be “the most effective tool we have to reduce prescription drug abuse.” As we’ve reported often on CBS 4, people travel to Florida — and many to Broward County — to visit a series of doctors in hopes of returning to their home states with fistfuls of prescription pills they can sell on the black market for large amounts of money.
The program will allow doctors to see when a patient received a prescription and what ailment it was for. Broward County has seen a meteoric rise in the number of pill mills in the county — they have more than doubled from 2008 to 2009. Several cities even placed moratoriums on new pills mills being created in their communities. The state legislature approved the program earlier this year but did not fund it. Instead, Grant told me, his office secured $800,000 in federal grants and private donations have brought in $500,000. He believes those funds will keep the programming running until next June. To read more about the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, CLICK HERE