Florida legislators are attempting to combat the state’s opioid addiction crisis by enacting tougher restrictions on doctors who prescribe painkillers to their patients. On April 6th, the Florida House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would limit opioid painkiller prescriptions to a 5 day supply. Additionally, the new law will require that pharmacies who dispense controlled prescription medications to report the dispensation to a government database by the end of the next business day. Current regulations give pharmacies one week to report this information to the state.
Every two hours, someone in South Florida will suffer an overdose from heroin, fentanyl, or other opiates, according to federal officials. These overdoses add up; 2016 estimates indicate that more than 800 people died of opiate overdoses in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County alone.
Local officials say that they’ve never seen as much heroin as they do now, and worse, many recent batches have been cut with powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl or carfentanil. Experts hope that tighter restrictions on prescription opioids may be able to prevent more Florida residents from becoming hooked on riskier illegal opiates. Statistics show that about half of the people who seek treatment for opioid addiction began taking them after getting a prescription from a doctor, something that proponents of the new bill were quick to point out.
South Florida Epidemic Follows on the Heels of Cocaine, Crack, and Prescription Drug Crises in Recent Decades
Florida, specifically, South Florida, is no stranger to being a hotspot for illegal drug use:
- Starting in the early 1980s, the southern part of the state, especially Miami-Dade County, became infamous for cocaine abuse and distribution, with violent confrontations between dealers becoming a near-daily occurrence.
- Later, in the 1990s, many economically disadvantaged South Florida residents began abusing crack, which became another serious problem in the area.
- In the early 2000s, “pill mills,” often operating under the guise of being legitimate pharmacies, medical offices, or the much maligned ‘pain-management centers’ sprung up like wildfire in Broward County, at one point, making it the nation’s capital for prescription drug diversion and abuse.
However, South Florida’s new opioid epidemic may be more challenging to solve than all the regions previous drug issues combined, in part because heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil are often far more deadly than cocaine and prescription drugs.
Developing an accidental addiction to prescription painkillers can be a frightening and disorienting experience. Unfortunately, many medical professionals prescribe these potent drugs without fully informing patients about their incredible potential for abuse and addiction. For many, what begins as a way to control their pain and live a normal life can soon spiral out of control and become a full blown dependence on, and eventually, an addiction to, opioid painkillers.
At Get Treatment, we understand just how tough fighting addiction can be. That’s why we’re here to fight with you every step of the way. If you’re looking for compassionate, accredited prescription drug abuse treatment programs, look no further. Our network of state-of-the-art rehab centers each provides patients the highest-quality individualized prescription drug treatment center programs for prescription drug addiction and other substance use disorders.
If you’re suffering from an addiction to prescription opiates and live in Florida, check out our Florida Addiction Treatment Center listings for the latest information on how to get effective, quality treatment for you and the people you care about.