Governor Steve Beshear today sent a letter to Florida Governor Rick Scott asking him to reconsider his decision to not implement a state prescription drug monitoring system that could help end the illegal prescription drug pipeline between Kentucky and Florida.
In his letter to Gov. Scott, Gov. Beshear wrote: "I implore you to reconsider your decision, and implement this life-saving program. despite these tough economic times, protecting the safety of Americans, as this system would do, must remain a priority for governors."
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. In 2006, the White House recognized KASPER as one of the nation's flagship prescription drug monitoring programs.
However, the protections provided by KASPER have driven Kentucky's pill trafficking community out of state where they are not tracked by KASPER. While 34 other states have a similar prescription drug monitoring system, Florida does not. Some Kentucky authorities estimate that 60 percent of the area's illegal prescription pills come from Florida, and the Kentucky State Police arrested more than 500 people from Eastern Kentucky in 2009 who had traveled to Florida for this purpose. In 2009, the Florida legislature approved a prescription drug monitoring program similar to KASPER. However, Florida Gov. Scott recently announced he would not implement the program.
"I would be glad to travel to meet with you wherever and whenever convenient for you, including in your home state," said Gov. Beshear. "Meeting with you to convince you of the importance of this system is of highest priority to me."
Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo, who is a surgeon, passionately agrees. "For two years I worked in a bi-partisan manner with Florida legislators and the director of Florida's Office of Drug Control to get their system enacted into law in 2009. Now Gov. Scott wants to dismantle it. This isn't about tough financial times, it's about the toll being taken in human lives."