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Politics

Pam Bondi: $53 Million Isn't Enough to Fight Florida Opioid Crisis

January 18, 2018 - 4:30pm
Pam Bondi
Pam Bondi

$53 million isn’t enough money for Florida to fight the growing opioid crisis, according to State Attorney General Pam Bondi, who also serves as a member on President Donald Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission.

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing $53 million in his recommendation for the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget to combat the national opioid crisis, but Bondi says while the money is a “great start,” the state still has a ways to go.

“In an $80 billion budget, that’s nothing,” Bondi said after the Florida Cabinet meeting on Thursday. “Nothing, given all of the lives that have been taken due to opioid abuse … We need much more money for treatment. And, $53 million this year would be a great start.”

Scott and state lawmakers have honed in on passing legislation to confront some of the issues aiding to the crisis during this year’s legislative session, proposing several measures to address the problem.

HB 21/SB8, sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, aim to crack down on opioid abuse by limiting the supply of prescription medication, hoping the shortened window will lessen abuse and overdoses in Florida. 
 
If passed, patients would be restricted to a three-day supply for opioids, unless they met strict conditions allowing them to receive a seven-day supply of the medication. The limit would apply to patients suffering acute pain rather than chronic pain, which is governed under different standards. 
 
All healthcare professionals prescribing or dispensing medication would be required to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a statewide program which monitors prescriptions for controlled substances. 
 
Opioid abuse has skyrocketed in recent years, overwhelming states like Florida, which declared a statewide public health emergency over the growing problem earlier this year.
 
According to CDC estimates, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled since 1999, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled in that time.
 
Over 5,700 people died from opioid overdoses in Florida last year, an increase of 35 percent from 2015.
 
Ninety-one people die each day from overdosing on opioids like oxycodone and heroin. 
 
“As states across the country continue to fight this national epidemic, we must make sure Florida is doing our part to help vulnerable individuals and keep our families safe,” Scott said.
 
The Florida Senate has added Scott’s proposed funding to SB8 but it has yet to be added to the House bill.
 
 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS
 

Comments

"Everyone is entitled to go to Hell in the fashion of their own choosing".....Let opioids reign, and "tune the abusers for smoke" !

The problem is you made and keep drugs illegal is causing 95% of the problems with them .......... Addiction is a minor medical problem only of a small, about 10% of the population and the cure costs nothing, in fact profitable. .................. How is legalize many of them for people over 21 and put a tax on it that goes for mental healthcare, the real problem drug abuse is only a system of................. I'd go for state drug stores with counselor/s on site to help them, others get back on track.................... But putting them in jail and making the black market very profitable has not worked so time to change course as pure stupidity to continue with so many dying because of religious , etc rightwing bias............... First step is legalizing pot, the safest drug with no pot poisoning deaths, safe than water would lure many away from opioids, other worse drugs like alcohol........... Fact is deaths from both have dropped a fair amount where pot is legal alone is worth making it legal.

Regarding "HB 21/SB8, sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, aim to crack down on opioid abuse by limiting the supply of prescription medication, hoping the shortened window will lessen abuse and overdoses in Florida. If passed, patients would be restricted to a three-day supply for opioids, unless they met strict conditions allowing them to receive a seven-day supply of the medication. The limit would apply to patients suffering acute pain rather than chronic pain, which is governed under different standards. " All that Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers will accomplish is to drive the people in pain to go to the black market, and deal with the hellish corruption that has gripped the US.

Give the people in pain a choice, cannabis or opium, and stop locking up people for cannabis use.

Common Sense's comment...is RIGHT..ON...100%.....also Tax Medical Weed.sales..& Opioid sales.... you tax the heck out of Cigs & Booze.....why not Tax those also...& put that Tax to your Rehab. Help Plan..not other Taxpayers Money who don't even do drugs of any kind...

How about we quit throwing money at the problem and start regulating the companies that manufacture and ship those meds by the millions? Why isn't that happening? Because the pharmaceutical lobby is one of the biggest contributor to political campaigns...Boom.

You are sooooo right, Common Sense!!

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