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Florida lawmakers fight to keep prescription drug monitoring database

State senators drew battle lines over Florida’s planned prescription drug monitoring database Monday, criticizing House leaders and Gov. Rick Scott for wanting to kill the program before it starts.

Attorney General Pam Bondi staked her ground with them, testifying before a Senate committee along with her drug czar, Dave Aronberg. The two urged senators to continue their fight to preserve the database.

“It’s such a horrible, horrible problem in our state. We have become the destination for drug dealers,” Bondi told the committee. “We’ve got to have a comprehensive strategy.”

That strategy, she said, should include the drug database.

“Drug dealers are flying to Florida now to buy these drugs and take them back to other states,” she said.

Many see the program as an important tool for combating the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, which kills seven people a day. “It’s kind of incredible to me, there are others in positions of leadership in this building who do not share our concern with the severity of this problem and some of the potential solutions,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Sarasota, shared similar surprise that the program is facing resistance. “I can’t believe we’ve had as many problems getting this through as we’ve had,” he said. “I keep asking myself, ‘Why?’ ”

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