Florida Senate, House Passes Bill To Increase Funding For Addiction Treatment, Limit Painkiller Prescriptions
On Friday, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that will impose limits on opioid prescriptions and increase funding for treatment. An estimated 16 Floridians die each die as a result of the opioid epidemic. painkiller prescriptions
The bill, on its way to Gov. Scott, was passed after the House and Senate agreed to final details – because the legislature includes all that he requested, he is expected to sign it.
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, per the Miami Herald:
“We wouldn’t have gone home without a bill. It was important to our communities and the Governor. Everyone is personally affected.”
The new legislation required that initial prescriptions would be limited to three days for painkillers such as oxycodone, but doctors are allowed to prescribe up to seven days for some exceptions. However, it does not place limitations on cases of trauma, long-term pain, cancer, or terminal illness.
Florida is the 25th state since 2016 to have passed laws that impose limits or guidelines prescriptions for opioids. Two other states, Kentucky and Minnesota, also have limited opioid prescriptions to 3-4 days.
Also, the bill allots $53.5 million for addiction treatment programs to update the state’s prescription drug monitoring database.
Rep. Jim Boyd, per the Miami Herald:
“In the big picture, this is a great initiative. Hopefully, the limits will keep patients off heavy meds and prevent addiction.”
About the Epidemic
A 2017 report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that opioids were present in at least 5,725 overdose deaths in 2016 – an increase of nearly 1,500 from 2015. Statistics from 2017 are not yet available.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 64,000 people died in 2016 from an overdose related to drugs or alcohol. The majority of those deaths involved either prescription painkillers or illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology