"I'm going to try to get [the resolution] fast-tracked," the Wayne County Democrat said.
Last month, Stanford University psychiatry professor Keith Humphreys, an expert on drug abuse, told West Virginia lawmakers that Florida's plans to crack down on pill mills would "constrain the Flamingo Express, as the DEA calls it, and help this state."
On Friday, Humphreys said states like West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee couldn't stem the damage of illegal painkillers without Florida's help.
These states "will reap a bitter harvest of addiction and overdose" if Scott doesn't follow through with the drug monitoring program, Humphreys said in an e-mail to the Gazette-Mail.
"If Florida doesn't establish a prescription drug monitoring program, more Floridians will die from overdoses, but the stakes are even higher than that," said Humphreys, a former policy adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Diverted pain medication from Florida is abused all over Appalachia. This is a national issue -- and Florida has national obligations."
Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks said the so-called Florida pipeline has gotten especially bad in the past year.
His area has been especially hard hit by prescription drug abuse. Last year, authorities raided several suspected pill mills there.
"Florida, in many ways, has replaced those pill mills," Sparks said. "In the last year, we've had a spike in oxycodone, and we believe that Florida is where a lot of it's coming from. Southern Florida, to be exact."
In one of Sparks' recent cases, a mother passed out after taking oxycodone and multiple Xanax "bars," which are pills with multiple doses.
"We believe [the drugs] came from Florida," he said.
The mother had put her 16-month-old daughter in a scalding bath. The toddler's legs were "literally boiled," Sparks said, and she drowned while her mother was passed out.
Scott, the Florida governor, is a former CEO of the health-care company HCA/Columbia. In the 1990s, he resigned amid an FBI investigation of the company, which later paid $1.7 billion in fines to settle charges that it defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs. The governor has denied knowing that fraud was taking place. He was not charged with any crime.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.