Tallahassee, Florida - Florida's new prescription drug database is now fully operational.
On Monday, doctors across Florida were able to log in for the first time to the database and check patients' drug histories.
The database started operating September 1st and over the past six weeks pharmacies have been entering every prescription for certain painkillers, such as Oxycodone. Monday marked the first time doctors and pharmacists could register to access the information.
State lawmakers created the database to crack down on people who go from doctor to doctor to get their hands on powerful painkillers.
Sen. Mike Fasano has fought for the database for the past decade. He says it should have been adopted long ago.
"We lose seven people a day in the state of Florida because of legal drugs, narcotics. Pharmacists now will be mandated to use the prescription drug monitoring program. Doctors can use it voluntarily. We're hoping that doctors across the state will use the database because it's not only them but the pharmacists that are the frontline people in this problem to stop the doctor shopping."
The new state law does not require doctors to check the database. Sen. Fasano says he plans to file a bill that would force them to use it.
"It is mandated in other states where they have the PDMP. It should be mandated here and talking to doctors, both in my community and throughout the state, they don't seem to have a problem because they're going to use it anyway, they said, because they themselves want to stop the doctor shopping. They want to know whether that patient they're seeing right there was not at a doctor either days or hours ago to get the same prescription for the same ailment."
The Florida Medical Association is encouraging physicians to use the new resource.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also praised the start of the prescription database. She called it another step forward in Florida's fight against prescription drug abuse.
"The launch of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program will allow doctors and pharmacies to prevent doctor-shopping and over-prescribing of highly addictive pain medication."