Narcotics are used by patients to relieve pain. But drugs such as oxycontin are addictive and for some they are recreational drugs, which gives them a high street value. The state of Florida generally prohibits the sale of narcotics, but makes an exception for medical use. To protect health and public safety and to deter illegal drug trafficking, Florida law regulates the dispensing of narcotics to patients.
For a pharmacist to dispense narcotics, the patient must present a prescription that is signed and dated by the physician on the day it was prescribed. The prescription must identify the name and address of the patient, the physician's name and address and the physician's controlled substance registry number. Also, the prescription must list the name of the narcotic, the amount, instructions for use and the prescription number. The pharmacist must initial the prescription and indicate the date that the prescription has been filled.
The pharmacist must keep the prescription in his files for two years. The initial container of the narcotic must list information on the physician, the pharmacist, the name of the patient, instructions for use and a warning that it is a crime to dispense the narcotic to anyone but the patient named in the prescription.
Filling prescriptions from several different physicians, commonly referred to as "doctor shopping," is a recipe for addiction and illegal street sale. To combat this practice, a law was enacted requiring that a narcotics prescription be filled at only one pharmacy. While the law allows a patient to change the pharmacy where she receives her medication, the pharmacist at the new location must inform the original pharmacist, transfer the prescription and cancel the prescription at the previous pharmacy.
Database For Monitoring Prescriptions
Florida mandates that the prescriptions for all controlled substances must be compiled in a central database. Doctors and pharmacists must submit prescription information on a patient to receive a patient advisory report. The report is crucial because it tells practitioners whether the patient is doctor shopping. While patient confidentiality is protected by federal law, several state agencies have access to the information for law-enforcement operations.
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Those who write prescriptions for narcotics, those who fill the prescriptions and those who receive the drugs need to remember that a narcotic is a controlled dangerous substance. This means that if you play outside the boundaries of your privilege, you expose yourself to felony charges.
John Toivonen is an attorney in Lansing, Mich., and has been a professional writer since 1999. His work has appeared in "The Washington Times." He holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Guilford College.