Florida Pharmacies Preparing for New Drug Tracking System
Florida has a reputation for being a “Pill Mill,” – a state where it is relatively easy for abusers to access prescription drugs. Lawmakers have passed legislation in recent years to try to change this reputation by making it easier to find and arrest abusers. Tampabay.com reported a 2009 law creating a prescription drug monitoring database is the most important of these laws.
This new law requires medical personnel who dispense controlled substances to enter information about who got the medication, how much they got, who prescribed it, and how much they paid for it into a statewide system to track these drugs. Until it goes into effect September 1, Florida remains one of only a few states with no way of monitoring the sales of these drugs.
But the law provides little time and no money for pharmacies to make these changes. Pharmacies were not able to register for the program until August 1, giving them only 30 days to prepare a system and test software. With the deadline approaching and funding non-existent, it is putting on a strain on pharmacists who have to test the systems on top of filling prescriptions as they normally would. This level of chaos and confusion pharmacists are expecting last several months may well lead to an increase in people who got the wrong medicine at the pharmacy. These drug mistakes could lead to serious medical conditions or even death.
While law enforcement officials do expect to see a decrease in drug sales and abuse, the way in which this new system is being enacted may put more people at risk.