In Florida, like many states across the country, there is a central database that tracks the use of prescription medication, particularly medication that is addictive. Databases such as this one have a proven track record of curbing the practice of “doctor shopping,” which happens when a patient gets multiple doctors to give them prescriptions for similarly addictive drugs.
These databases also act to identify the doctors or health clinics that are illegally giving out prescriptions for painkillers at a profit. In turn, these databases have a positive impact on limiting the number of prescription overdoses.
So why aren’t the prescription drug databases doing their job in Florida? Across the state, it is reported that only 10 percent of doctors and approximately one-third of pharmacists are using the system. The database cannot work well unless all relevant parties (doctors, pharmacists and treatment centers) report to the database concerning their patients’ prescription histories.
New Laws and Proposed Laws
For now, use of the Florida state database by medical professionals remains voluntary. Florida legislators voted down a bill this past year that would have required the use of the database statewide. Nationally, two bills have been formed with the intent of requiring every state to make it mandatory for doctors and pharmacists to use the database, but both bills died in the House of Representatives before they could be put into action. Lobbyists hope to revive the bills and utilize the database to curb prescription drug addiction that is at epic proportions in the state.
The Purpose of Statewide Prescription Databases
The purpose of statewide prescription databases is to aid in stopping abuse of prescription drugs and the development of prescription drug addiction, a disorder that can be deadly. This is primarily accomplished in two ways:
- When doctors utilize the database, they are able to see if an individual has been to another doctor in the past few months to obtain prescription medication. They are also able to see patterns of behavior such as repeated pain complaints and switching doctors often. This frees the doctor to refuse medication if he or she suspects abuse. Far too often, doctors suspect a patient is misusing medication but they are unable to find a valid argument for refusing a drug.
- When a statewide prescription database is utilized, it holds the doctor behind the prescription accountable. Prescription drug addiction would be vastly minimized if patients were not being over-prescribed. The database allows authorities to look into clinics, offices, and treatment centers that are suspected of purposefully putting drugs into the hands of dealers in order to receive kickbacks from both the dealers and the prescription drug companies.
Protect Your Loved One
If you are concerned that your loved one’s prescription has taken over his life, contact us at the phone number listed above and speak to an admissions coordinator about possibilities in treatment today.