Adam Putnam calls for return of statewide drug czar – a reversal of Rick Scott policy

adam putnam (2)

If Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam becomes Governor, expect the “drug czar” position to be revived to lead the state’s battle with opioid addiction.

For the record, that would be a reversal of current policy.

In 2010, incoming Gov. Rick Scott was cutting costs, so he eliminated the Office of Drug Control, which was formed when Jeb Bush was in office.

Putnam, speaking at an opioid roundtable in Jacksonville, floated the drug czar concept. 

“I have asked this question every time I’ve been in an audience with folks where the focus of attention has been on how to solve the opioid crisis,” Putnam said.

“That’s included law enforcement, clinicians, medical professionals, and there seems to be pretty close to unanimous support that someone needs to be the quarterback, because the opioid crisis and its response touches virtually every agency of government, from health care to practitioners to the insurance providers to the law enforcement and prosecutors and judicial system,” Putnam added.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a reinvention of the old drug czar,” Putnam said, “but we need a coordinator of the response to this crisis.”

We asked if Scott had dropped the ball in phasing out the position.

“No! I don’t believe that Gov. Scott dropped the ball. He proposed a very aggressive response to the opioid crisis and the Legislature picked it up and passed it,” Putnam said.

“We all know that our work is never done. We’re in better shape today because of what Gov. Scott has done. We’re looking for the next steps,” Putnam said, “because clearly this isn’t a problem that’s going away overnight.”

We asked Putnam about President Donald Trump’s call, made in a recent speech, to execute serial drug dealers.

Putnam ruefully smirked, then fielded the question.

“Well, look, we need to be as aggressive as we possibly can. We need to be constantly reviewing the laws, the sentencing guidelines, to make sure that these drug dealers who are killing our kids are meeting the full consequences of their actions,” Putnam said.

“Many times you have these drug dealers in prison who have killed people,” Putnam added. “Whether that’s what they were prosecuted for or not, that’s the net effect of their action.”

“That’s a federal issue, and we’ll see how that plays out,” Putnam continued. “Here in Florida, I’m focused on listening to folks who are on the front lines every day, and we’re looking for ways to give them the resources and the tools to eradicate this scourge in our state.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Bill Monroe

    March 22, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Mr. Putnam, instead of a drug czar position why not enact the same rules and regulations the Florida house, senate, and governor, has placed on medical marijuana? Scott stated in 2009 he did NOT want an opioid registry because it would be an invasion of privacy. Well, we have a cannabis registry. Cannabis has a seed-to-sale tracking system and travel manifest along with two drivers. Do the same for opioid production and delivery to prevent diversion. Cannabis requires daily audits to prevent diversion. Opioid pharmaceuticals have no such requirement to include daily signoff signatures by two people. Instead of creating lofty highly paid government positions why not sit down and create a plan. A real plan, vice words and rhetoric, which will address opioids in Florida. Stop this silliness of enacting heavy rules and regulations on cannabis, and then rub your collective government hands together and exalt whatever shall we do to control opioids? Please, you know what to do because you did it with medical marijuana. You could do the same with pharmaceutical opioids, but their PAC checks are certainly an influencing factor, eh? In summary, place the same type of restrictions on cannabis on the pharmaceutical opioid industry which has killed over 200,000 Americans. Will you commit to this plan Mr. Putnam?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn


This is default text for notification bar