Florida Legislature passes bill to spend $53 million on opioid addiction treatment

Florida Legislature passes bill to spend $53 million on opioid addiction treatment

The American states have been striving hard to fight against the problem of opioid addiction. In the wake of the opioid crisis, they have enunciated a string of measures to curb the problem. In yet another initiative taken against the ongoing opioid crisis, the Florida Legislature has now passed the bill HB 21, which imposes restrictions on prescription drugs and allows spending funds worth over $53 million on the treatment and prevention of opioid abuse.

The bill was given a green signal after a long tussle and bickering over the decision to include or preclude dedicated funding for Vivitrol, a brand name for a formula of naltrexone, used for treating relapse and cravings in people grappling with opioid addiction. Reportedly, the shots of Vivitrol have been successful in treating opioid addiction. The approved bull includes adequate funding not only for Vivitrol but also for other similar medications. The focus of the bill is to prevent people from getting addicted to prescription painkillers. The bill has been passed by both the chambers and is now headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

Way bill plug in the gap in opioid addiction treatment

As people addicted to prescription drugs often turn to illicit opioids like heroin, fentanyl, etc.  The bill focuses more on preventing the problem of opioid addiction. In order to meet this objective, the bill would impose a limit of three days on the prescription of painkillers for acute pain. In the worst scenario, physicians would be allowed to prescribe opioid painkillers for a maximum of seven days, if the situation seems to be too severe. However, these limits would not be applicable on patients suffering from cancer or a major trauma. Moreover, terminally ill and palliative care patients are outside the purview of these limits

Moreover, a physician would be able to prescribe or dispense any medication only after cross-checking the statewide database, known the prescription drug monitoring program, designed to increase interface between physicians, doctors, etc. This will allow easy connectivity with the physicians’ offices and electronic health records (EHRs) used by doctors. To realize this connectivity, the government has already approved a fund of worth $991,000 to ensure significant improvements and plug in gaps standing as roadblocks. The bill mandates that the physicians attend a two-hour, board-approved course on prescribing controlled substances.

The $53.5 million worth bill would include a periodic fund of $14.6 million for the Department of Children and Families. The above-mentioned fund would be utilized to increase access to treatment and reduce waitlists to enable treatment in time to patients. The money will be also directed toward the enhancement of case management, residential services, outpatient services, aftercare services and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including those programs comprising Vivitrol. The bill further allocates a $6 million fund to the Office of State Court Administrator for MAT; however, it is not restricted to only one form of treatment, rather brings all kind of options under its fold. Another $5 million would be dedicated to the Florida Department of Health to increase the availability of opioid antagonists to emergency responders, when required. The need to seek approval for a MAT has been eliminated. Earlier approval was required from the Medicaid-managed care plans and commercial insurance companies.

Control drug availability to curb misuse

The easy availability of prescription drugs, particularly painkillers, is one of the major factors that increases the risk of abuse. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a better control over the ways drugs can be obtained and dispensed. Rather than encouraging the practice of over prescription, medical practitioners should follow the new prescription guidelines and spread awareness among patients about the repercussions of opioids. The better management of leftover medications will play a crucial role in controlling the misuse of prescription drugs. Given the declaration of opioid crisis as a national public health emergency, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps and curb this risk.

If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs and looking for an addiction treatment center in Florida, contact the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline for help. You may contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online with one of our experts to know about the best prescription drug rehab in Florida manned by excellent staff and equipped with advanced technology.