Prescription drugs are often abused in Florida, but it can sometimes be difficult for doctors to know if this is happening with an individual patient.
A doctor may not realize that a patient is going to multiple sources to get the same drug, for example, which is known as doctor shopping. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22,810 people passed away from prescription drug overdoses in 2011 alone. There were over 41,000 overdose deaths on the whole, so prescription medications made up the majority of the incidents.
As such, Florida created the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substance Evaluation Program, known as E-FORCSE. It is essentially an online database to which doctors have to report prescriptions so that those being given out to individual patients can be tracked. Two doctors may not know they are both meeting with the same patient, but the system will.
The system works with Schedules II, III, and IV medications. Physicians can make reports to it electronically. These are supposed to be done at least within seven days, but it’s suggested that they do it as soon as possible. Despite the recording of information, the system is compliant with HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Of course, as with any new technology, mistakes can be made. A doctor could inadvertently report information for the wrong patient, or he or she could report that different amounts of the medication were prescribed. A simple typo could become a huge issue for someone who is accused of a prescription drug violation, so it’s important for those who have been accused to know how this system works and what options they have if they think the evidence being provided by it is inaccurate.
Source: Florida Health, "E-FORCSE Home Page," accessed Aug. 19, 2016