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Florida Governor Rick Scott’s name has been thrown around Kentucky for several weeks. Scott’s attempt to stop a prescription drug tracking system has prompted state, federal and city officials* to reach out to the Floridian leader and encourage him to reconsider the cut.
Scott has also made national headlines for refusing to accept federal money for high-speed rail projects in his state.
The Washington Post cites those issues and several others in a post predicting that Scott will soon take the spotlight from the GOP governors in Wisconsin, Mississippi and New Jersey, who have each notably clashed with President Barack Obama in recent months.
*Governor Beshear, Congressman Rogers, Attorney General Conway, Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo, U.S. Drug Czar Kerlikowske and several police officers and sheriffs
On Monday morning, Greg Allen reported on Florida’s prescription drug abuse problem for Morning Edition. Allen calls Florida the epicenter of the abuse epidemic, and then details Florida Governor Rick Scott’s plans to cut a proposed prescription tracking program.
But recently, Gov. Rick Scott has come out foursquare against it. Scott hasn’t said much about why he wants to kill it. When pressed at a recent news conference, he said: “I believe it’s an invasion of privacy and … it appears that the money’s been wasted.”
An official with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Foundation says the governor’s accusation is false and that the group has already raised enough money to start up the state database.
Scott’s proposal has also spurred repeated calls from state and federal officials in Kentucky who say shutting down the origin of the pill pipeline in Florida will curb prescription abuse in the commonwealth.
Attorney General Jack Conway is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott not to cut a not-yet-implemented prescription pill tracking system.
The program is similar to the KASPER system in Kentucky, which Conway and others say has helped stop pill mills from distributing prescription drugs in the commonwealth. It’s believed that many of the prescriptions abused in Kentucky come from Florida. Governor Steve Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, Congressman Hal Rogers and U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske have all encouraged Scott to reconsider cutting the program. In his latest monthly column, Conway joined the call:
The bottom line is that we need to stop illicit prescription pills at their source; states like Florida and Georgia that do not have prescription drug monitoring programs in place. Programs like Kentucky’s KASPER system are needed, warranted and must be implemented in all 50 states. Until that happens, prescription drug abuse will continue to ravage our families and our kids.
Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky is asking Florida Governor Rick Scott to back off from his plan to repeal a yet-to-be-implemented prescription pill monitoring program.
Scott has asked the Florida legislature to cancel the program before it launches. The program was approved in 2009 and is meant to crack down on so-called pill mills that supply drug dealers and addicts with prescriptions.
Both Rogers and Scott are Republicans, and Rogers says residents of his district and of Florida are dying from overdosing on drugs that originate from pill mills.
Scott’s request to kill the program is part of his plan to cut money from the Florida state budget, but the prescription tracking system would not be funded by the state. A spokesperson for Scott says the program also raises privacy concerns.
(Some information provided by the Associated Press)