Gov. Scott plans 3-day prescription limit, database to battle state opioid problem

AP Photo/Chris Post

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Rick Scott is changing strategies in the fight against Florida’s opioid crisis.

On Tuesday, he was in Bradenton to announce proposed legislation that’s aimed to help addicts and prevent others from being addicted.

This comes months after he signed a new law increasing penalties against drug dealers.

The opioid epidemic continues to embroil the state of Florida and claim lives. Just this year alone, Bradenton police responded to more than 220 overdoses and 15 deaths.

“Opioid abuse has taken the lives of too many Floridians,” said Governor Rick Scott.

His proposed legislation includes:

  • Placing a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply;
  • Requiring all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a statewide database that monitors controlled substance prescriptions; and
  • Additional reforms to fight unlicensed pain management clinics, require continuing education courses on responsibly prescribing opioids, and create new opportunities for federal grant funding.

“We don’t need to be prescribing many, many days. We need to prescribe them very few days because there’s less a chance somebody will get addicted,” said Scott.

Further, the Governor wants to pump $50 million that will fund:

  • Substance abuse treatment;
  • Counseling and recovery services; and
  • The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.

“I wish that I could just say we’re gonna do these things and it’s all gonna go away. It’s gonna be tough. This is really an unbelievable epidemic,” said Scott.

“It’s not the easiest thing in the world to get off an addiction. That’s why the best thing is to prevent it in the first place and that’s why the education of our doctors, the limiting of our prescription, is gonna have a positive impact,” he added.

For years, Jessica Zielman was addicted to pills and heroin. Her marriage crumbled and her daughter was taken from her home.

“I was hanging out with people I wouldn’t normally hang out with and doing things I wouldn’t normally do, because I just didn’t know how to cope with life,” said Zielman.

Thankfully, she’s now free thanks to the Prodigal Daughters Recovery Home. It’s a faith-based recovery home for women and children for addition, human trafficking and domestic violence.

She knows the dangers of addiction and is hopeful the governor’s plans can work.

“There’s always more that needs to be done, anytime you can combat things that are killing people, anything and everything that can be done, should be done,” said Zielman.

In doing this, Governor Scott is also trying to help the economy. Florida ranks among the worst in the country for opioid abuse, and that bad reputation could impact new companies and job growth.

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