Believing a monitoring system could help clog up the illegal prescription drug pipeline between Kentucky and Florida, Gov. Steve Beshear sent a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott that asks him to reconsider a decision to cancel a state drug-monitoring program.
“I implore you to reconsider your decision, and implement this life-saving program,” Beshear wrote. “(D)espite these tough economic times, protecting the safety of Americans, as this system would do, must remain a priority for governors.”
For the past several years, legislators, law enforcement agents and drugstores in both states have attempted to shut down the pill pipeline, where Kentuckians travel to obtain legal drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone in Florida, but use them in the illegal drug trade back home.
The Florida tracking system was approved in 2009 and would create a centralized database to help state officials identify buyers who are accumulating large numbers of pills and the doctors who are over prescribing them. It has been estimated that 60 percent of Kentucky’s illegal prescription pills come the so-called “flamingo express.”
The Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER) tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state, helping doctors ensure a person does not get prescriptions from several different sources, while also helping police investigate the diversion of pills to illegal sales.
According to the governor’s office, those regulations have driven Kentucky’s pill traffickers out of state where they are not tracked. And while 34 other states have a similar prescription drug monitoring system, Florida does not.
In 2009, Kentucky State Police arrested more than 500 people from eastern Kentucky who had traveled to Florida for this purpose.
“I would be glad to travel to meet with you wherever and whenever convenient for you, including in your home state,” Beshear writes. “Meeting with you to convince you of the importance of this system is of highest priority to me.”