Gov. Rick Scott is proposing Florida put a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions and spend $50 million as part of a state effort to combat opioid abuse in the state.
Scott unveiled what he calls “major legislation” Tuesday morning during a news conference at the Bradenton Police Department.
“As I travel the state, I have met many families who are dealing with the heartache of drug addiction. Growing up, my own family dealt with the struggle of substance abuse and I know firsthand how this painful issue causes families to worry and pray for help and healing,” Scott said in a written statement. “As states across the country continue to fight this national epidemic, we must make sure Florida is doing our part to help vulnerable individuals and keep our families safe.”
Scott’s legislative proposal would limit access to opioids by placing the three-day limit on opioid prescriptions. A seven-day supply would be granted in cases where patients meet strict conditions. Currently, patients can get a week supply of the drugs and in some cases a month-long supply.
His plan would also require all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. That program, which was created by the Legislature in 2011 to deal with the state’s prescription drug abuse problem, monitors controlled substance prescriptions.
The governor is also calling for additional reforms dealing with unlicensed pain managements clinics and he wants to require continuing education courses for those who prescribe opioids. He is also proposing new opportunities for federal grant funding to combat the state’s opioid problem
Scott will ask the Legislature for $50 million to fund substance abuse treatment, as well as counseling recovery services. The money would also support the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.
“These proposals will make a major impact on limiting the chance of drug addiction, reducing the ability for dangerous drugs to spread in our communities, giving vulnerable Floridians the support they need, and ensuring our hardworking law enforcement officers have the resources to protect Floridians,” Scott added.
The governor says he will work closely with the legislative leaders to pass the anti-opioid legislation.
Earlier this year, Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida an effort to combat the state’s major opioid problem. That declaration made available $27 million in federal funding for treatment and other services.
“We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming lives in Florida, and we must do everything we can to stop drug abuse and save lives,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said in response to Scott’s proposal. “It will take an all-hands-on-deck strategy, not only in Florida, but nationwide to address this crisis destroying American families.”
Both Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran say they will work with the governor to pass a reform package aimed at combatting the opioid drug problem in Florida.
Florida has been hit hard by the opioid crisis.
According to the most recent Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics, 3,896 Floridians died in 2015 from heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone overdoses. That represents about 12 percent of the 33,000 people who died nationwide that year due to opioid abuse.