TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With Florida facing an opioid epidemic, a measure aimed at preventing patients from getting addicted to prescription painkillers and then turning to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl took effect over the weekend.
The new law places limits on prescriptions that doctors can write for treatment of acute pain.
Doctors in many cases are limited to writing prescriptions for three-day supplies, though they can prescribe up to seven-day supplies of controlled substances if “medically necessary.”
The law also requires physicians to check with a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing controlled substances.
John Wilson is the CEO of DISC Village, a treatment facility for those affected by alcohol and drug abuse. He says the new law goes a long way toward addressing the state’s opioid epidemic, which affects every socioeconomic group in Florida.
“I see this as one part of it. There are lots of parts to this epidemic, but this is a critical part in helping get to the bottom of it," Wilson said.
Cancer patients, people who are terminally ill, palliative care patients and those who suffer from major trauma are exempt from the prescribing limits.
The new drug law is one of more than 100 in Florida that took effect July 1.