prescription drugs

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A bill aimed at criminalizing the deadly drug fentanyl is heading to the Senate floor. The measure comes as the Legislature is struggling to respond to the state’s opioid crisis. But the plan has lawmakers questioning whether they should combat addiction with punishment or treatment.

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There are many moving parts in the nation’s ongoing health care debate. One of the most embattled at the moment is the pharmaceutical industry. Now those companies have launched a counter-offensive to try and repair their tarnished image.

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President Donald Trump wants to streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so people with rare diseases can get medication faster. But one Florida resident says the state's government needs to make improvements too.

Nearly two dozen Florida businesses and healthcare groups have signed on to a national campaign to control prescription drug costs.  The effort has been buoyed recently by reports of astronomically high prices for every-day medications like Epi Pens.

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Florida lawmakers want to block health plans from changing the medications prescribed by doctors.  Bill sponsors say switching drugs can be harmful for some patients.

Healthcarelist.com

The only thing Florida lawmakers must get done during the legislative session is pass a balanced budget. But it’s tricky ironing out all the numbers. And  a big part of laying out a budget is determining how much to spend when it comes to healthcare.

Some Florida lawmakers say the state’s pill mill crackdown has gone too far. Florida used to be known as a pill mill capital but the state cracked down on unscrupulous clinics, leaving legitimate patients to struggle with getting prescriptions filled.

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A report by the Center for Disease Control highlights some of the efforts Florida’s made to lessen the state’s image as the “Pill Mill Capital of the Country.”

Since she first took office, Attorney General Pam Bondi has made combatting prescription drug abuse a priority, after 98 of the top 100 Oxycodone dispensing doctors were found to be residing in the state.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Monday the state will be able to continue its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program—with some creative funding. The Legislature did not approve money for the drug program this session.

Bondi says the prescription drug monitoring database has been crucial in the state’s fight against "pill mills." Florida’s oxycodone death rate has fallen sharply over the past couple of years. And Bondi says she was surprised to see the Legislature adjourn this session without renewing funding for the program.

MGN Online

The Florida Senate approved a slew of measures, teed up some others, and put several measures on hold. They range from an inmate porn ban to a bill stiffening the penalties for hit-and-run drivers.

Flood Insurance Bill

The Florida Senate started off the Session by quickly passing St. Petersburg Republican Senator Jeff Brandes’ Florida Insurance legislation. The measure aims to make it easier for private companies to sell flood insurance.

“Senator Brandes, you are recognized on the bill,” said Senate President Don Gaetz.

MGN Online

A bipartisan bill that revises the penalties for trafficking certain prescription drugs cleared its first House committee Wednesday. But, some say the measure is too lenient.

Escambia County Sheriffs Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a former Florida crime lab analyst is under arrest on charges that he stole and sold prescription pills seized as evidence in criminal cases.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced that Joseph Graves was arrested Tuesday. It comes a day after the chemist resigned from his job at a Pensacola lab that tests drug evidence.

Investigators say Graves replaced painkillers he was testing as evidence with non-prescription pills. He is charge with then selling the painkillers.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab chemist in Pensacola has resigned from his job after an investigation turned up evidence he may have stolen prescription drugs from hundreds of criminal cases.

On Monday, FDLE investigators began one of the department's largest investigations ever into Joseph Graves' activities.

David Monniaux

Fewer Floridians died from drug overdose last year than the year before—and the number dying from the prescription painkiller oxycodone dropped by 41 percent. But at the same time, heroin overdose deaths nearly doubled—and people who work with drug addicts say they’re not at all surprised by the trend.

Since 2010, Florida lawmakers and law enforcement officers have cracked down on so-called pill mills—those doctors’ offices prescribing such large amounts of painkillers they’d been labeled “drug pushers in lab coats.”

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Officials overseeing the state’s Prescription Drug Management Program, or PDMP, say they’re planning changes, even though they contend they’re not responsible for earlier reports that more than 3,000 records weren’t secure enough to keep them from being accessed by law enforcement.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi  is working with nearly half the states in the nation to put an end to a product line of Urban Outfitters that Bondi says contradicts efforts to combat prescription drug abuse.

In a letter to the company, Bondi says she along with 22 other attorneys General are calling on Urban Outfitters to stop selling products, like glasses, mugs, and drink holders, that mimic prescription pill bottles and prescription pads.

Drug-Repackaging Bill Passes Senate

Apr 29, 2013

A measure dealing with workers comp and repackaging prescription drugs is one step closer to becoming law. The reform bill has been almost four years in the making.

There’s now a bipartisan effort in the Florida Legislature to grant judges more flexibility when sentencing prescription drug offenders.  The measure passed through its first House Committee Tuesday, but attracted much opposition from state prosecutors and law enforcement officers. Bill supporters say it would allow people addicted to prescription drugs to get necessary drug treatment. But, others say the bill will roll back the progress made in recent years to halt the illegal flow of prescription drugs.

Sascha Cordner

The overall number of drug-related deaths in Florida is on the rise. Meanwhile, the state is seeing a drop in the number of prescription drug related deaths. Attorney General Pam Bondi says the decrease is the result of a two-year effort by the state to crack down on pill mills. And, the effort also grew with the help of pill mill legislation in 2011.

DEA Holds Bi-Annual Prescription Drug Take Back

Sep 28, 2012

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency is holding its bi-annual prescription drug take back day this weekend. The program is aiming to keep spent drugs out of the wrong hands.

In an effort to cut down on the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency is holding a Prescription Drug Take Back Day. According to the DEA prescription drugs are abused more than heroin, hallucinogens, and cocaine, combined.  

Fla. Pain Patients: Drug Enforcment Has Gone Too Far

Jul 19, 2012

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the State of Florida continue their crackdown on illegal prescription drug trafficking. But, chronic pain patients say, they’re suffering from unintended consequences of the crackdown.

In late June, a DEA bust nicknamed Operation Pill Street Blues closed seven illegal operations across the state. One of them was the Jacksonville clinic where chronic pain patient Stephen Silva was being treated for his four spine injuries.   

StopTheDrugWar.org

"Pill mill" busts have become a familiar sight over the past year, as federal, state and local agencies try to stem the illegal flow of controlled substances from Florida clinics. But, chronic pain sufferers are having a hard time getting their prescriptions filled, and they say the anti-drug crackdown has gone too far.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit the price doctors can charge workers compensation patients for re-packaged medicine. Regan McCarthy reports the bill passed both chambers once before only to be vetoed by then Governor Charlie Crist in 2010.