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Addiction Advocates Urging House to Include Funding for Vivitrol in State Budget

February 16th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

The Legislature’s main opioid response bill is on its way to both the House and Senate floor.

The bill limits opioid prescriptions to a three to seven day supply.

Restricting supply is supposed to prevent patients from becoming addicts.

Medical professionals like the idea, but want exceptions.


“Exceptions for cancer treatment, hospice care, surgery and trauma cases should be adopted,” said Jeff Scott with the Florida Medical Association.

Lawmakers are also increasing opioid crisis funding to $50 million, but the House budget cuts funding for a program aimed at helping addicts get clean.

It’s for a drug called Vivitrol, which blocks addicts’ cravings.


“Which then allows that individual to take a serious use at their drug use,” said Mark Fontaine with the Florida Behavioral Health Association.

The House budget slashes funding for the drug by $7 million.

Most of those funds come out of correctional programs that use the drug to help addicted inmates stay clean when they’re released.

Currently, 609 patients around the state receive Vivitrol through state funded programs.


“You’re talking about people that are on this medication that are benefiting from it that we’re going to have to say we can no longer provide this to you and it’s going to have a disastrous impact on their ability to stay clean,” said Vivitrol Nurse, Patrick Lane.

The medication is expensive, costing nearly $1,000 per dose, but a single dose can reduce cravings for a month.

Advocates say it’s worth the cost, considering 16 Floridians die from opioids each day.


“Ultimately it will get worse, and there’s no magic bullet and we’re not saying Vivitrol is that, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle when trying to get clean and stay clean,” said Lane.

While opioids may be harder to get under the legislation, without the funding for Vivitrol, getting clean may also be harder for those already addicted.



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