Monday, March 7, 2011

take 6 of these and call me in the morning.....

"abc news was there for a drug bust today, among lavish homes and luxury cars. florida doctors accused of writing prescriptions for powerful pain killers."

so began diane sawyer on her news tonight.  a multi-million dollar pill mill bust.  but let's start at the beginning

i live in south florida, as you all know, and sometimes we're very savvy and sophisticated, (such as the florida grand opera, or the new world symphony, or the art basel world art event). other times not so much. (such as the stand your ground law, allowing citizens to kill each other, legally, no gay adoptions (repealed just recently), and of course the ever popular no pregnant pigs in confined spaces). this piece is about the not so much.

i try not to write political pieces. i leave that to the talking heads on television, (o'reilly, hannity, olberman, and maddow, and of course the huffinton post). so if politics is mentioned here, it will only be in passing, with a minimum amount of indictment, although there is plenty to go around.

we have ourselves a situation here, in this country, where drugs are virtually out of control. (re-read that last sentence with the voice of strother martin from cool hand luke. it's way better that way). there's the illegal kind of drugs, of course, which you can buy from your local dealer, thug, gangster, or stock broker (hey, the market was down awhile, ok? some of those guys branched out. can't blame them.) police and authorities do their best but it's a tough fight. there's also the other kind, legal drugs. prescription drugs. pain killers, to be exact. this is the scenario, as it stands in most parts of the country.

there has been a rash of pain clinics that have gone into operation across the country. apparently there's big money in it. people go to a doctor for a back-ache, shoulder-ache, knees, elbows, what have you, and he or she will write a prescription for pain killers which the patient will subsequently fill at a pain clinic. (these must be the un-insured, as the others would go to walgreens, rite-aid or cvs, i'm guessing). now here's the catch. people abusing pain killers, like oxycontin, vicodin and others, are able to go to different doctors, get multiple prescriptions, fill them, and either spend their days and nights buzzed, (not a bad choice for some), or sell them for a profit, make some money, go buy more, and essentially become drug dealers in legal, but controlled substances. (although if you're caught dealing, i' m pretty sure you spend some quality time being bubba's bitch in the slammer, and you're going to need those same pain killers to soothe the hurt emanating from your rectum.)

this last kind of dealing is possible to control with a little help. authorities have devised a database kind of thing, where each doc is required to enter the name of the patient, the type of pain killers, the amount, and the date. that way, if another doctor pulls up that patient, he can see whether or not he's filling this kind of script very often or not. if he is, the doctor has some control and can opt not to give him or her more. it's a great plan, really and for the legitimate patient, there's no down side. they can check, i'm not abusing, i'm good to go. for the doctors, it's a win/win as they're more than likely not contributing to drug abuse or dealing, they're being responsible doctors, and they stay out of trouble when the patient who's dealing gets busted. personally, i think the database is a good idea. (but hey, can't go by me. i think funding the arts and paying teachers a competitive salary are good ideas too).

so who, you might ask, would object to this system?

apparently, our new governor, rick scott. he came to office claiming he was elected by the people to trim budgets, stop the deficit spending and make florida a fiscally sound entity. (good idea, really). oh, and jobs. his slogan for his campaign was let's get to work. (like the unemployed didn't want to?) so he takes office and begins to do his thing for our great state, and decides to veto the new law that the pesky legislature passed last year, allowing for the creation of the database to fight the pill mills. he wants to veto it, despite the fact that the state is not paying for it. it's not publicly funded. not his money. not our money. (something about invasion of privacy). so i'm thinking that talking to governor rick would go something like this:

me: hi gov. how's the job going?
him: not too bad david. the job has its perks. but there are downsides too.
me: really? seems like it would be a good gig. mansion and all, company car, huge treasury to plunder.
him: well, mr. smarty, i had a mansion before, and plenty of cars and more money than you could shake a stick at. i had a really good hospital company for a while. made a fortune, although they did make me give some back.
me: i hear ya. bummer. i hate when that happens. so, gov, what's the downside?
him: i tell people to do stuff and they don't. they have to take it up with the legislature. what kind of crap is that? i'm either the boss or i ain't.
me: yeah, raw deal. this cockeyed state kinda works like that. sorry. it can cramp one's style. so why the veto of the pill mill database?
him: i'm afraid of invasion of privacy issues. having doctors knowing which pills you take and how many.
me: um...excuse me, governor, but aren't doctors supposed to know that?
him: well of course, but not a lot of doctors. why would you need a lot of doctors to know your business.
me: a better question would be, why would you need a lot of doctors to write prescriptions, no?
him: i just don't like people looking over my shoulder and in my stuff. i'm a very private person. i like to keep my actions private.
me: so you went into public life to achieve that?
him: you ask a lot of questions, you know that? me, i'm skeptical. i saw that nice rush limbaugh get into trouble just because the doctors were into his business. doesn't seem right.
me: that nice rush limbaugh? um....ok. i gotta go. good luck with your veto and getting it through that pesky legislature.
him: great talking to you. now, let's get to work.

of course that was just an imaginary conversation, but i'm stymied why anyone is against the database to help control the flow of drugs and all of the related deaths. i doubt he'll be successful with his veto, and i think the legislature will prevail on this one, although it's gonna piss him off, i'm sure. go figure. you spend 70 million dollars of your own money to win an election (buy an election?), and you win, and now you're king of the world. (actually he could save a lot of money for the state by disbanding the legislature, but honestly, these days, that only happens in egypt). for now, he's stuck. he's the boss, but not the king. 

another classic case of be careful what you wish for.

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