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Statement from FSA Regarding Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Tallahassee, Fla. (June 20, 2013) – “Florida’s Sheriffs value the privacy of citizens and place high regard on protecting the privacy of citizens throughout the state. We adhere to all rules and regulations regarding the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), and in fact utilize the PDMP to make our streets safer. Florida has seen a 17 percent drop in Oxycodone deaths and a 58 percent reduction in "doctor shopping" cases since the database began operations two years ago, according to Florida Health Department statistics.

The PDMP has been a critical tool in solving cases and bringing perpetrators to justice. Recently, investigators with the Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit at the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office discovered that one person obtained 178 prescriptions for Oxycodone and Hydrocodone from 56 different medical providers, filling them at 26 different pharmacies over the past two years. Instead of visiting pain management clinics, the subject went to dentists, walk-in clinics, emergency rooms, urologists, psychiatrists and other providers every few days to obtain small quantities of the potent drugs in an attempt to go undetected. That worked until two pharmacists finally consulted the database and alerted investigators. This case exemplifies why the PDMP can only be effective if it is checked by medical professionals prescribing or dispensing these powerful prescription drugs.

Currently, the State of Florida requires that pharmacists enter data into the PDMP each time a controlled substance is dispensed. The availability of the database as a patient tool is instrumental in ensuring proper medical intervention while stopping diversion, addiction and the proliferation of potent pain pills on the street.

Florida’s Sheriffs use countless tools and resources to fight crimes in our state, and the PDMP has proved to be a viable asset in combating the prescription drug epidemic plaguing our state in recent years. When state officials and law enforcement noticed individuals misusing and abusing the prescription drug process, they created the PDMP to stay a step ahead of these criminals. Statistics show that this database is working, and as the number of medical professionals utilizing the PDMP increases, we will continue to see a decrease in prescription-related deaths and “doctor shopping” cases. In addition, Florida’s Sheriffs will work to educate citizens about the risks associated with prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Florida’s PDMP is compliant with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and meets additional security requirements set forth by the Department of Health that are more stringent than HIPPA requirements. We encourage all medical professionals to utilize this valuable resource and assist law enforcement in our efforts to protect Floridians from the dangers that can come from prescription drugs.”

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