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Florida Drug Czar Office Falls to Budget Ax

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #665)
Drug War Issues

newly unemployed drug war bureaucrat seeks position
The Florida Office of Drug Control is going out of business. The four-man fiefdom in the Sunshine State's drug war bureaucracy has fallen afoul of incoming Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott's war on state spending and was notified late last month that it would be out of business come this month.

The office was established by Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and its FY 2010-2011 budget is $551,300. Its charge was reducing substance abuse in Florida and helping set state drug policy. The office put out an annual report, as well as other reports, compiled statistics, lobbied for tighter restrictions on the state's burgeoning pain medicine clinics, and sought funds for prescription monitoring when the state legislature failed to allocate them.

Office director Bruce Grant, Florida's "drug czar," unsurprisingly thought the decision to disband the office was a mistake and sent the wrong message. "It kind of says this is not a priority issue," he said, adding that the state's drug problems are not going away. "It's not a war that's going to be over tomorrow."

The duties of the Office of Drug Control will likely be taken up by law enforcement and the state Department of Health, but that didn't mollify Grant. "Somebody's going to have to pick up the ball," he said. "Frankly, the Department of Health is not the aggressive type of agency to do it."

In the meantime, the incoming governor has surgically excised a layer of drug war bureaucracy and saved Florida taxpayers a half a million bucks a year in the process. It's not much, but it's a start.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Moonrider (not verified)

Just too bad it wasn't the ONDCP which was "axed". 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 4:09am Permalink
NoName (not verified)

i'ma resident of tallahassee ,i tell you this is a bold move by mr. scott but i must warn you he only did this by this bisneiss mans perspective,whats it cost and what are our thats a half a million dollars,with what appears to be no results,get rid of this waste.i must say watching the attack ads  did say something about him concidering alot of florida police,prison,and sherrifs assiosations,didnt want anyone say he was gonna cost law enforcement jobs and make us very unsafe. but i still cant tell you what I honestly think of  mr.scott, one of his iideas during elections was to drug test welfare respenients. so im still not sure

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 11:36am Permalink
Anthony Veigel (not verified)

Could it be that Bruce finally did something worthwhile and went after these "legal drug dealers" called pain clinics. Seeing how we are the biggest supplier for illegal scripted pills for other states I think it was about time. Im curious to know how much Rick Scott is influenced by these pharmaceutical companies. There is CVS, Eckerds, Walgreens on almost every corner not to mention all the pain clinics. Our elected officials here in Florida have done next to nothing to stop the prescription drug abuse in our state and across the nation.

We need a safer alternative to these man made drugs that are ruining our state and country. Florida needs to legalize medical marijuana . Its non addicting, you cant od on it, it isnt a gateway drug,its a natural plant that was used extensively before its prohibition in 1937 by doctors in the U.S to treat everything from headaches to addiction from alcohol and heroin. The days of reefer madness are over and cannabis has been clinically proven to be a safe and natural alternative to the meds out there today. 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 5:18pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by Anthony Veigel (not verified)

Cannabis does not relieve most kinds of pain, and can actually make some kinds of pain worse or at least make it more difficult to ignore, because the herb makes one more aware.  Near as I can tell, the only kind of pain that can be controlled by cannabis is neuropathic pain.  Those pharmaceutical pain drugs (and the doctors who prescribe them) are needed by intractable pain patients, at least until natural opiates are relegalized.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 3:37am Permalink
Katelyn (not verified)

In reply to by Moonrider (not verified)

Just would like to point out that I am one of the "intractable pain patients"- and mine is neuropathic in origin. I would hope that my doctor and I would be the only people deciding whether to use opiod medications, cannabis, or any other medication to control my pain. Pharmaceutical opiods will also be necessary, even if natural opiates are re-legalized. All have their own side-effects, risks, benefits, etc. I would like the largest pool of ways to control my pain possible- herbal, plant-based, or pharmaceutical- so that I have more options as to the best way for me to control my pain.

Mon, 01/03/2011 - 10:38pm Permalink
Bongstar420 (not verified)

In reply to by Anthony Veigel (not verified)

I find it ironic that many Cannabis legalizer's accept the implicit premise of prohibiton's function. That function is for one group/individual to claim the right to hurt another group/individual based on chemical(s) they consumed. And by hurt, this includes all forms of altercations of association based on said knowledge of a group/individual's consumption of the forbidden chemical(s). That's like putting people in jail because using McDonald's food service might give them heart disease. Yes, lets institute criminal penalties for people who use McDonald's. Better yet, since all McDonald's use is abuse, we should institute criminal penalties for attempting to procure or produce (or assist in said actions) the aforementioned bad chemicals (saturated/trans fats, bleached carbohydrates, sodium, hormone and pesticide residues) which constitute McDonald's abuse. After all, why should I have to bear the burden of having to associate with a (fat and smelly) McDonald's abuser or contribute wealth to their existence through taxation? Additionally, it is proven that McDonald's abuse causes one to suffer from a number of physical maladies as well as become lazy and disengaged while disabling the abuser's ability to stop abusing.

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 3:57pm Permalink

Drug control should be under the supervision of the department of health, this is a health care issue, not a law enforcement issue. And it's fantastic that they won't be as aggressive.

Of course we'l have to see their next move.

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 8:00pm Permalink

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