If you read newspapers, then you probably remember the '60s. The adults lectured us about the evils of marijuana while holding a Jim Beam in one hand and cigarette in the other.
That bit of hypocrisy pales compared with what kids are seeing out of
But before getting into that, let's check out the latest stats on the Doper State.
dispensed more than a half-billion hits of
. That is triple the number from 2005.
It is almost one fix a day for every adult in the state. And this doesn't include
and all the other narcotics we dispense like
Oxycodone kills more people in Florida than
, cocaine and morphine combined, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.
Compared with 2008, heroin deaths dropped 20 percent in 2009 and cocaine deaths dropped 18 percent.
Oxycodone deaths increased 26 percent.
This is an epidemic for the ages. Doctors with prescription pads are a bigger threat to your kids than drug gangs in Mexico and Colombia.
This takes me to Gov.
and House Speaker Dean Cannon.
In the old days, the drug dealers paid the cops for protection. In Florida, the politicians give it away for free.
They continue to oppose the best tool we have to fight this plague — a drug database that would track the flow of prescription narcotics.
Instead, they are offering up
For example, the House is pushing a bill that would ban doctors from selling the drugs. That sounds good, except the vast majority of drugs don't come from doctors' offices or pain clinics. More and more, it seems the docs simply write the prescriptions — a ticket to get high cashed in at a pharmacy.
Doctors and pain clinics only dispense about 16 percent of the oxycodone in this state.
Yet, a House bill championed by Cannon would spend $3 million to ensure all the narcotics are removed from these offices and clinics. We can't afford to waste $3 million on pretend solutions.
The bill also would allow only publicly traded pharmacies, or those with $100 million in taxable assets in Florida, or those that have been in business for 10 years, to sell the narcotics. This would give big corporations like Walgreens and
a monopoly and put smaller legitimate pharmacies at a huge disadvantage in competing with them.
This looks more like an attempt to enrich big corporate interests than an attempt to stop drug dealing.
Scott says he doesn't want taxpayers to have to fund the database. And then he announces a $800,000 strike force to target prescription-
. That's more than the database would cost.
In fact, the database funding so far has been covered by private donations and federal grants.
How many drug task forces have I seen in the past 40 years? How many have worked? How many millions of dollars have we spent arresting the odd bad doctor here and there while drugs continue to pour into the street?
The problem is doctor shopping. A druggie gets a prescription and then goes to another doctor for another one and then goes to a third doctor … until he has enough merchandise to feed his habit or sell on the street.
A drug database would log these transactions so they could be stopped.
The database targets the problem in the most cost-effective manner.
Opponents complain about privacy violations if hackers ever get into a state-run database. Cannon has cited a 2009 case in Virginia.
In fact, a hacker did get on the Virginia database site and posted a $10 million ransom demand to keep information quiet. Nothing ever came of it.
The drugs you use already are in somebody's database. Private companies are no better than the state at protecting digital information. Last year, hackers stole Walgreens' email marketing list.
Pretty soon, all your medical information is going to be stored and shared digitally, just like all your financial information. Hackers continually are attacking banks.
Long ago we put ourselves at the mercy of people who create firewalls.
A drug database is the least of our problems.
This is bad politics. It's bad public policy. It's beyond hypocritical for a political party that tells our kids to just say no.