Since Rick Scott has been in office as Florida’s governor, there have been many controversial issues that have seen a lot of media coverage. Health care, budget concerns, high-speed rail and unemployment seem to be the most talked about issues in the state, but one problem that has affected not only the city of Tampa but the entire state of Florida is prescription drug abuse.
The state has yet to act on implementing a prescription drug database to monitor transactions involving these medications. This has allowed dirty doctors and so-called “pain clinics” to sell mass amounts of these highly addictive drugs to doctor shoppers, which are addicts and drug dealers who illegally obtain and sell these prescription drugs on the black market. Gov. Rick Scott cut this monitoring program from his budget proposal this year, claiming that it would be too expensive and would invade an individual’s privacy.
This story has been followed by a majority of daily newspapers around the state of Florida. The St. Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Naples Daily News and the News-Press are a few major newspapers in Florida that have covered the issue. Most of the news has been about the actual pill mills and the controversy over the prescription drug database. This issue has made national headlines in nearly every media outlet available. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, ABC and CBS news are the major outlets that have also covered this issue.
The problem is not only dealt with in Florida but across the nation. Addicts and dealers will make trips to the sunshine state because the prescription meds are so easy to obtain. Most of the national media outlets gave an overview of the pill mill problems in Florida to an audience that may have been unfamiliar with the issue, while local and state news covered more about the drug monitoring system and Rick Scott’s decisions regarding this issue to reach Floridians who are familiar with the issue.
Public opinion towards this issue overall was more negative than positive. Newspapers around the state wrote for neutrality as you would expect, but public sentiment regarding the pill mill problem and Scott’s decision to scrap the proposed monitoring system was negative. Blogs, forums and other platforms that allow more opinionated writing have expressed an overall negative view of the prescription drug problem and how it has been handled by government and city officials. When seven people die each day from prescription drug abuse in the state of Florida and nothing is being done about it, you can bet that public sentiment won’t be very positive.