Florida drug tracking law may stall Kentucky pill pipeline

The Florida General Assembly passed legislation Thursday authorizing use of an electronic system that would track the prescription and dispensing of controlled substances in Florida, according to one of its sponsors, Florida Rep. Kelly Skidmore.

The news came as a relief to Kentucky officials who blame the lack of electronic monitoring in Florida on the growing phenomenon of Kentuckians traveling in planes and vans to Florida, where doctors prescribe hundreds of pain pills for cash.

The prescriptions are obtained legally, but people often bring them back to be sold by traffickers in Kentucky. The trips are an effort to escape the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system, known as KASPER, which tracks who prescribes, dispenses and receives the drugs.

"The bill will give them the ability to monitor the pill factories that have popped up all throughout the state of Florida, which have impacted Kentucky health care," said Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, who wrote a letter to the speaker of the Florida house asking him to support it.

Physicians and coroners in Kentucky are blaming the pill pipeline between the two states on widespread cases of drug addiction and multiple overdose deaths.

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