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Florida governor signs bill that limits prescription to three-day supplies to curb opioid crisis

In an effort to curb the swelling rates of opioid addiction in the state, Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill imposing a three-day limit on prescriptions into law. The bill, which is a part of the bigger plan to control the opioid epidemic, aims at not only preventing people from getting hooked on prescription painkillers, but also stopping excess medications from entering the black market.

The bill – HB 21 – mandates physicians to prescribe only a three-day supply of opioid-based painkillers. However, it has provided a relaxation of seven-day supply if deemed medically necessary. Further, the legislation also exempted patients suffering from pain related to cancer, terminal illness, palliative care or serious traumatic injuries. “The bill will help limit the chance of drug addiction. The most important thing we can do is stop the addiction in the beginning,” Scott said. The legislation was sponsored by State Representative Jim Boyd.

In order to discourage the practice of “doctor shopping,” the new law has instructed physicians to consult a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing controlled substances. In this regard, the bill has also authorized the Department of Health to share and exchange database information with other states to maintain transparency. However, in case of technical glitches, the bill mandates doctors to positively document the information in patient medical records and prescribe pain relievers for three days or less.

Prevalence of prescription opioid addiction

Opioid medicines are prescribed to people suffering from chronic pain. Though opioids are effective in relieving pain for some time, they cause euphoria if consumed in excess. As a result, the patients who tend to increase their doses to get a long-time relief become dependent on the drug. Studies show that factors like frequent writing of opioids by doctors, sharing of prescription by teenagers and young adults, and easy availability of other similar drugs (heroin and fentanyl) have spurred the opioid epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. Besides, over 200,000 Americans died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2016. Often, people abusing opioid painkillers switch to illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Unfortunately, these drugs are readily available on streets, require no prescription for purchase and cheaper than opioid painkillers.

Road to recovery

Another driving force behind the surge in the opioid addiction rate is the misconception that abusing prescription drugs is less harmful than other illicit substances. However, the truth is that misuse or abuse of opioids can lead to severe problems as these medicines are highly addictive in nature. When misused or abused, opioid drugs tend to create permanent changes in the body, which have severe repercussions.

Fortunately, opioid addiction can be treated with proper medical intervention. The condition can be treated with medication, therapies or a combination of both depending on the severity and duration of the addiction. Therefore, seeking immediate medical help is of utmost importance. If you or your loved one is suffering from opioid use disorder, seek help from the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline to know about the best drug rehab in Florida. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 or chat online with our expert to get in touch with world-class drug rehab center in Florida. One should remember the fact that opioid addiction can have life-threatening implications, if left untreated.