This week, I was proud to join my partners in the Florida Legislature to unveil legislative initiatives that will protect consumers from timeshare resale fraud and establish a task force to study prescription drug abuse and newborns.
Last legislative session, we were able to create tougher administrative and criminal penalties targeting pill mills. The Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns bill, which is sponsored by Senator Joe Negron and Representative Kelli Stargel, will address a growing trend in prescription drug abuse—newborns experiencing neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome.
In hospitals across our state, babies are born addicted to prescription drugs and are suffering from this syndrome – a collection of symptoms that can occur in a newborn that has been exposed to drugs while in the womb. The task force would be charged with examining the scope of the problem, the costs associated with caring for babies with neonatal withdrawal syndrome, the long-term effects of the syndrome, and strategies for preventing prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers. A thorough examination of this emerging problem now will help us develop sound prevention strategies for the future.
In another legislative initiative intended to protect Floridians, Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, Representative Eric Eisnaugle, and I announced a bill that strengthens laws to prevent timeshare resale fraud. Since January 2011, the Attorney General's Office has received 6,863 complaints related to timeshare resale fraud. While my Office has been aggressively pursuing unscrupulous timeshare resale companies, additional enforcement tools are needed to combat this growing problem. The bill enhances existing laws by addressing unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising practices by timeshare resale companies. I will not allow unscrupulous individuals to mislead and defraud Florida's consumers.
I look forward to working with the Florida Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor to pass strong legislation that protects Floridians.