Florida urged to keep tracking painkillers

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Florida urged to keep tracking painkillers

Columbus Dispatch – Shutting down the 'Oxy Express' between Ohio and Florida will be harder if Florida eliminates its prescription-drug monitoring program, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a letter this week to the Sunshine State governor.

Brown, a Democrat, expressed concerns to Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, about the impact on Ohio of Florida's decision to shut down a computerized program that tracks dispensing of prescription medications.

Officials from other states, plus the Obama administration, have been pressing Scott to continue the program, in large part because Florida is home to many "pill mills," where physicians write prescriptions or dispense addictive painkillers such as OxyContin. Scott wants to end the program as a cost-saving measure.

Law-enforcement officials say there is an active prescription-drug pipeline, via I-75, between Florida and Ohio. They have nicknamed it the "Oxy" or "Flamingo Express."

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