Gov. Scott Signs Legislation and Highlights $65 Million in Funding to Fight National Opioid Epidemic in Florida

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On March 19, 2018, in News Releases, by Staff

BRADENTON, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott hosted a bill signing at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for HB 21, which was proposed by Governor Scott to combat opioid abuse. This bill will help limit the chance of drug addiction, reduce the ability for dangerous drugs to spread in Florida’s communities and give vulnerable Floridians the support they need. The Governor also highlighted the more than $65 million in the Securing Florida’s Future budget to help combat the national opioid epidemic in Florida. During the event, Governor Scott recognized Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Brady McCabe for saving the life of a potential overdose victim in Manatee County last year.

Governor Scott said, “Last week, I signed the Securing Florida’s Future budget, which includes more than $65 million to support Florida’s fight against opioids, and I am proud to continue our fight against opioids by signing this major legislation today. This bill will help limit the chance of drug addiction, reduce the ability for dangerous drugs to spread in Florida’s communities and give vulnerable Floridians needed support. We made a commitment in Florida to do everything possible to help communities impacted by the national opioid epidemic, and I appreciate the work of Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and all the legislators who supported this important priority.”

The more than $65 million to support Florida’s fight against opioids in the Securing Florida’s Future budget includes:

• $14.6 million for enhancements to the substance abuse system of care. This funding will provide additional residential treatment beds, outpatient treatment and case management, emergency room treatment and follow up, peer recovery support services and targeted outreach for pregnant women with substance abuse disorders;

• $5 million for Naloxone for first responders;

• $27 million in federal funding from the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant;

• $1.2 million to enhance the Prescription Drug Monitoring System;

• $16.5 million for Department of Children and Families, State Courts and Department of Corrections for Medication Assisted Treatment related to opioid addiction; and

• More than $885,000 for handheld narcotic analyzers for the Florida Highway Patrol to keep officers in the field safe.

HB 21 continues Florida’s fight against opioids by:

• Placing a three-day limit on prescribed opioids for acute pain, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply;

• Requiring healthcare prescribers or dispensers of opioids to consult the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a statewide database that monitors controlled substance prescriptions, to review a patient’s medication history prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance;

• Requiring continuing education courses for healthcare practitioners on responsibly prescribing opioids;

• Increasing penalties for healthcare practitioners that provide medically unnecessary controlled substance to a patient by fraud, misrepresentation, or other deception; and

• Implementing additional reforms to fight unlicensed pain management clinics.

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said, “The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was proud to join Governor Scott in recognizing this funding and legislation, which will help our deputies and community partners as we continue to combat the national opioid epidemic in our state. Our deputies are working each day to keep Manatee County families and communities safe, and we must continue to do all we can to ensure they have the resources needed to be successful in this fight.”

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