On Monday, March 19, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation into law which provides $65 million in state funds to combat the opioid crisis while limiting opioid prescriptions to three days.
The bill, HB 21 in the Florida House of Representatives, bolsters the Sunshine State’s prescription monitoring program while placing a limitation of three days on most opioid medication prescriptions for acute pain. In instances where the provider has determined that more than three days’ worth of medication may be necessary, an exception
According to Scott, limiting the duration of opioid prescriptions will mitigate the number of Floridians who struggle with opioid addiction. Furthermore, the bill will expand the access citizens of the state have to addiction recovery treatment, creating additional recovery treatment opportunities and providing additional protection for first responders on the front lines of the opioid crisis.
The new law will allocate an additional $53 million worth of funds toward battling the opioid crisis, which will combine with the funds the state has already dedicated in the budget, totaling $65 million that has been set aside to fund Florida’s battle against addiction.
Scott signed the legislation into law in Manatee County, which is one of the areas in Florida that has been hit hardest by the opioid crisis. However, overdoses in the area have been on the decline since Operation Hot Batch come into effect, which led to the indictment on federal charges of 34 drug dealers.
In the first two months of 2017, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigated 172 suspected overdoses. However, in the first two months of 2018, only 47 suspected overdoses have been investigated. Likewise, while 21 fatal overdoses occurred in the first two months of 2017, only six have occurred during the same period this year. Officers hope that the new legislation will help continue this trend.
The new law will go into effect on July 1.