Florida’s prescription drug tracking system finally was up and running Thursday after overcoming a series of political, legal and financial obstacles, reports the Associated Press. Florida is the 36th state to create one, and 12 more have enacted legislation to do so. The system is part of the state’s effort to crack down on “pill mills.” Florida has become the nation’s epicenter of prescription drug abuse in part because most other states already have monitoring programs.
The system was hampered by a lack of state funding and was forced to rely, instead, on federal grants and private contributions. Then, it was delayed several months by a contract challenge. Finally, Gov. Rick Scott tried to kill it with help from House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. The Republican governor relented in the face of opposition. Scott had questioned the system’s effectiveness and said he was worried it might invade patients’ privacy.