What Makes Florida So Special
The interesting thing about Florida is how they handle the moderation and distribution of prescription pills. The state’s drug laws are lacking some key elements to help keep the spread of prescription drugs to a minimum. The unique coastal features also make it a prime area for importing products to the United States.
Florida Drug Laws & Trends
Florida is home to the third oldest drug court program in the United States
Florida’s drug court, which began in the early 1990’s, included 92 drug courts as of 2007. Nearly half of all drug court cases (45%) involve powdered cocaine.
According to police records, there were 155,246 adult drug arrests made within Florida in 2007. During the same year, there were an additional 2,590 DEA Florida arrests.
However, some legal observers say that the current level of enforcement is simply not enough to keep up with growing drug problems, including pill mills, new club drugs (e.g.. bath salts) and meth labs.
“The OxyExpress”: Lack of Prescription Painkiller Regulation Fueling Pill Mills
Unlike most states, Florida lacks a universal system of drug laws for monitoring drug prescriptions. This makes it easier for individuals who are addicted to painkillers to “doctor shop” and bounce from one pill mill to another.
Because of the growing number of pill mills” most of which are found in strip malls” investigators and law enforcement agents unofficially nicknamed Florida’s Interstate 75 the “Oxy Express”.
In 2011, Florida legislators tried to pass legislation to create a statewide prescription drug database. Governor Rick Scott, however, came out against the legislation citing privacy concerns.
While Florida law enforcement agents continue to do their best to crack down on pill mills, officials say that a statewide drug database, along with other regulations and drug laws, are necessary to help stem the tide of prescription painkillers.
Cracking Down on Drug Trafficking Off Florida’s Coasts
As part of joint efforts between the DEA and Coast Guard, Florida is stepping up its efforts to stem the flow of drugs into the United States through the state’s lengthy coastline. In July 2013, the
Coast Guard intercepted an estimated $35 million dollars worth of cocaine. The total haul” 2300 pounds” is one of the state’s largest drug busts. Thanks to increased pressure from law enforcement officials, drug smugglers are being forced to alter routes and change drop dates in an effort to elude capture.
However, as the recent bust shows, law enforcement officials are increasingly confident that they are catching up with drug smugglers and significantly cracking down on cocaine trafficking.
Drug Testing in The Florida Workplace
Under Florida state drug laws, employers who establish a drug-free workplace (and enforce the drug-free workplace rule with drug testing) are eligible for a discount on their worker’s compensation insurance premiums.
Florida employers with a drug-free workplace are required to drug test job applicants. According to Florida law, employers with a drug-free workplace are also able to drug test employees in the following situations:
- Reasonable suspicion of drug use (e.g.., erratic or abnormal behavior) or reported drug use
- Part of a routinely scheduled medical fitness exam
- After an employee returns to work following drug rehabilitation due to a positive drug test