Legislature Set To Battle Over Pill Mills

MIAMI (CBS4) – A legislative fight is brewing over how to handle pain pill abuse in Florida. House speaker Dean Cannon said he won’t call for a database to track prescription drugs, which sets up a showdown with the Senate.

Cannon’s counterpart, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, said he will push for the database. The purpose of the database is to flag people who get large amounts of prescription drugs by “doctor shopping.”

The database was signed into law by the past administration, which automatically puts it at odds with Governor Rick Scott. The first-term governor urged lawmakers to repeal the law throughout January and February.

Cannon wants to outlaw the dispensing of prescription drugs in doctors offices as a way of fighting what some say is an epidemic of fraudulent prescription writing.

“Banning doctor-dealers is the only way to do it,” Cannon told the News Service of Florida.

“I don’t think we’re going to be moving in the opposite direction (from last year’s bill) in the Senate,” Haridopolos said.

While the safest way to deal with the problem would be to combine both ideas, the Legislature will be in gridlock until a compromise can be made.

And while the plans continue to be debated, Florida will continue to be the painkiller pill-popping capital of the United States.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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