Florida Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Opioid Rx to Three Days

March 2018 ~

The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that will institute new restrictions on prescription drugs and increase funding for addiction treatment and prevention.

The Florida House and Senate each voted unanimously to pass the final version of the bill, Controlled Substances (HB 21), which mandates that most initial prescriptions would have a limit of three days for Schedule II painkillers, with “acute pain exception” for extension of up to seven days when deemed medically necessary.

Cancer patients, people who are terminally ill, palliative care patients and those who suffer from major trauma would be exempt from the limits.

The bill also include mandates that physicians or their staff members to check with a statewide database, known as the prescription drug monitoring program, before prescribing or dispensing drugs. As well as requirements for physicians to take a two-hour, board-approved continuing education course on prescribing controlled substances.

HB21 calls for $53.5 million in state and federal grant funding for treatment programs and updates the state’s prescription database.

$14.6 million has been allotted for recurring funds to the Department of Children and Families toward increases access to treatment and reduce waitlists. The bill also designates funding to be directed to case management, residential services, outpatient services, aftercare services, and medication-assisted treatment.

$6 million has been assigned to the Office of State Court Administrator for medication-assisted treatment but again allows for a variety of options. And $5 million has been allocated to the Florida Department of Health for emergency opioid antagonists to be made available to emergency responders.

Florida will be the 25th state since 2016 that has passed legislation that imposes some limits or guidelines on opioid prescriptions.

A 2017 report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed that opioids were identified as either the cause of death or were present in the decedent’s system in 5,725 cases in 2016. In May of 2017, Florida’s Governor declared the state’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

The bill now moves to Governor’s desk for final approval to become law.


Source(s): Florida Politics; STAT News; WJHG; PalmBeachPost; Health News Florida; Insurance Journal;