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Florida Lawmakers Seek to End Overprescribing of Opiates

October 23rd, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Cutting down on the number of painkillers that can be prescribed at any given time is the latest approach lawmakers are considering to curb opioid deaths.
New legislation would end the practice of overprescribing.
In an effort to combat the growing opioid epidemic in the state, lawmakers are targeting the issue at it’s source, which for many addicts, begins at the doctors office.
Elizabeth Pine was featured in a video put out by the Florida Senate.
She recorded the interview to support the new legislation after losing her son to a heroin overdose.
He became hooked after being overprescribed Oxycontin.
His death is a scenario that plays out all too often according to the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.
“80% of the people on Heroin started on prescription opioids,” said Mark Fontaine, Executive Director of the Association.
Overprescribing is also being blamed for the availability of the drugs on the street.
“The physician gave a 90 day prescription or a 60 day prescriptions and the individual only took three days and somehow the pills get stolen or somebody sells them and then they enter the street market,” said bill sponsor State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto.
To make a dent in the overprescribing of opioids the proposed legislation would cap prescriptions at a three day supply, with the option for a week if a doctor deems it necessary.
Not all patients would be limited to a three day or even one week supply, but exemptions are yet to be spelled out in the bill.
“Folks who are dealing with terminal illnesses and need this medication in that last stage of their life, we want to make sure there is a provision in the bill that allows them to get that medication,” said Benacquisto.
At least 17 states put limits on how many opioids can be prescribed by doctors.
More than three thousand people died in the state from prescription drug use during the first half of 2016 alone according to a report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

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