Pam Bondi: Drug Czar to Address Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force

Gil Kerlikowske, the nation’s drug czar, is scheduled to address the first meeting of the state’s new Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns on Tuesday in the state Capitol Cabinet meeting room.

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Friday that Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, would be a “special guest” at the inaugural meeting of the task force.

Kerlikowske was the chief of the Seattle police when appointed to the national post in 2009. He began his law enforcement career in St. Petersburg in the early 1970s and later served as police chief in Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce between 1987 and 1994.

The task force, a priority of Bondi’s in the Legislature’s regular session, was signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Focuses of the task force will be prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers and the emerging problem of neonatal withdrawal syndrome as it pertains to prescription drugs.

Members of the task force include:
  • Bondi.
  • State Surgeon General Dr. Steven L. Harris.
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey.
  • Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudak.
  • Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins.
  • Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos.
  • March of Dimes Assistant State Director Keith Nash.
  • Dr. Robert Yelverton of the Florida Medical Association.
  • Pediatrix Medical Group Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Solomon of the Florida Hospital Association.
  • Florida Nurses Association Executive Director Willa Fuller.
  • Dr. David Dixon of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association.
  • Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart.
  • Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa.
  • BayCare Behavioral Health Executive Director Doug Leonardo.
  • Healthy Start Executive Director Jane Murphy.
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