By Greg Giordano
State Senator Mike Fasano Announces that E-FORCSE (Electronic – Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation), the prescription drug monitoring program, goes “live” today. All physicians in Florida will now have the ability to access the prescription drug history of patients in Florida. The monitoring program came about due to efforts of Senator Fasano and others over the pat ten years. Senator Fasano was the prime sponsor of various pieces of legislation during the past decade that led to the launching of the database. The database will assist physicians in identifying both doctor shoppers as well as patients who may not be using their medications properly.
“The prescription database is perhaps the single most important patient safety program to launch in recent memory,” Senator Fasano states. “On average, the scourge of prescription drug abuse claims the lives of seven people per day. This long-awaited tool is intended to cut that number significantly. After many years and many obstacles to overcome, the database is going live at a time when it is needed most. Although we will never know the number of lives that will be saved, we will know that many lives will not be lost as long as the database is consulted by every doctor every time he or she considers writing a controlled substance prescription.”
The database will track all controlled substance prescriptions (C2- through C4) that are filled in Florida. The information contained in the database will include the name and dosage of the controlled substance, where it was filled and who wrote it. Doctors can then use that information in determining what medications are in the best interest of their patient. If the data shows that the person is “doctor shopping” (the illegal practice of seeing multiple doctors in a short period of time to secure the same or similar medications without disclosing that fact) the doctor can either refuse to write a prescription or assist the patient in the pursuit of substance abuse treatment. Many doctor shoppers sell their medications, which is also a crime. The database will assist law enforcement in curbing the proliferation of this dangerous criminal behavior.
“The database, as well as legislation recently passed by the Florida legislature, will cut down the ease of access to prescription drugs by those who may abuse them or sell them,” Representative Richard Corcoran states. “With pill mills being shut down due to the ban on dispensing drugs from most doctors offices, and the launching of the database, Florida is on the road to becoming a safer and healthier state.”
The Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association have both encouraged their respective memberships to consult the database. It is Senator Fasano’s hope that in the interest of both public and patient safety that all doctors will see the database for what it is intended to be: a tool to save lives.