Florida Governor Signs Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Written by Moses & Rooth on April 11, 2018
Drugs are widely used in the United States, but it’s not just illegal ones that are leading to criminal charges and deaths. Prescription drugs have become an epidemic in the country over the past decade. People are living longer and relying on painkillers to help them feel good. The problem with prescription drugs, though, is that they stop working after a while. They become less effective, so some people take more and more. As a result, many overdose and die.
Opioids are the most commonly used prescription drugs, and they are causing numerous deaths across the United States. People are also selling them to make money, which is considered illegal sale of prescription drugs. This is often a felony crime.
Fortunately, Florida is being proactive and taking steps to combat this crisis. Gov. Rick Scott recently signed a new law that will place stricter limits on opioid use in a bid to address the epidemic, which claims at least 16 lives a day in Florida alone. The comprehensive measure will include education programs and limited availability of these addictive drugs.
The state legislature has made combating the opioid epidemic a priority. The new law will earmark more money for education programs. It will place tougher limits on opioid prescriptions. It will also require that doctors check the state database and make sure that patients are not “doctor shopping” and getting prescriptions from multiple health care providers.
The situation is dire in Florida. Between 2015 and 2016, opioid overdose deaths skyrocketed 35 percent. In 2016, opioids were responsible for the deaths of 5,725 people in the state.
Fentanyl is the most popular opioid in some areas of Florida. Some versions of fentanyl can be 5,000 times more lethal than heroin. Manatee County suffered the highest rate of deaths from this drug in 2016.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, has a goal of reducing the number of prescription drug addicts in Florida. It will place the toughest restrictions on Schedule II drugs such as fentanyl and oxycontin. Doctors would be able to prescribe only a three-day limit, although a seven-day limit would be allowed in some cases. There would be no limit for those with chronic pain, trauma or a terminal illness such as cancer.
The new law includes an upgrade to Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. It would make it easier to track a person’s medication history across the nation. This means that doctors in adjacent states could track a Florida resident’s prescriptions and refuse to fill any if it appears the person is attempting to get prescriptions from multiple doctors.
Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Even though prescription drugs are often obtained legally, you can still get in legal trouble for fraud and illegal possession and sale relates to these drugs. You could face felony charges for selling prescription drugs. If this is the case for you, you need legal help right away.
Contact the aggressive criminal defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth. We will assess every aspect of your case to help you formulate a solid defense. Schedule your free consultation today. Call our office at (407) 377-0150 or contact us online.