Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will give a keynote address, then moderate a forum featuring members of Congress, during the final day of the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in April.
Bondi, who has led the charge to crack down on prescription drug abuse in Florida, will discuss the pill mill epidemic in Florida, which was once dubbed the pill mill capital of the nation.
Florida’s “pill mills” have been a primary source for prescription drug diversion in the Eastern United States, according to Bondi. Diversion is a major driver of increases in the crime and misery indexes, and exacts a significant economic cost to the state through increasing drug treatment costs, related medical expenses and Medicaid fraud.
Bondi will share the tough new laws and administrative penalties that have helped shut down pill mills in Florida, and what is next on the horizon in the fight against prescription drug abuse.
Bondi received the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators’ 2011 Leadership Award for her efforts to stop prescription drug abuse, and was awarded a special recognition award by the Florida Police Chiefs Association for efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse and strengthen Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program through additional legislation via the “pill mill” bill.
Following her presentation, Bondi will moderate a forum featuring four members of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. Those members participating in the forum are:
• U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-California 45th District, co-founder and co-chair of the Caucus and chairwoman for the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
• U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Georgia 1st District, Caucus member and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
• U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-West Virginia 3rd District, Caucus member and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and former chair of the House Natural Resources Committee.
• U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, R-Kentucky 5th District, founder and co-chair of the Caucus and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
These four members have led the fight for curbing the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic as it is now classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The members will, among other topics, discuss three bills that have been introduced by members of the Caucus related to prescription drug abuse: HR 1065, the Pill Mill Crackdown Act; HR 1925, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; and HR 2110, the Ryan Creedon Act.
Following these presentations there will be a question-and-answer session to hear concerns and comments from those impacting the issue on the front lines.
“We certainly appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Bondi, these members of Congress and their staffs for leading the fight against prescription drug abuse,” said Karen Kelly, CEO of Operation UNITE, host of the Summit. “Each of these members have been speaking out on this issue for years and fighting this terrible epidemic that is destroying our families, schools and communities.”
The bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse was established in 2010 to raise awareness of abuse and to work toward innovative and effective policy solutions, incorporating treatment, prevention, law enforcement and research. Caucus members collaborate to gather relevant information from stakeholders involved in prescription drug abuse initiatives and disseminate their findings and recommendations to fellow Congressional members.
The Summit, which will be held in Florida April 10-12, 2012, is intended to foster better understanding and cooperation between all groups – state and national leaders, law enforcement officials, medical professionals, community advocates, treatment experts, educators, private industry leaders, and others – who are finding success in battling this nationwide epidemic.