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Florida Senate approves 3-day limit on opioid prescriptions

Posted on 01-19-2018 Posted in Addiction, Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse - 1 Comments

Florida Senate approves 3-day limit on opioid prescriptions

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the state finally seems to have taken a concrete shape. The four best practices he had proposed earlier this month got its first approval from the Senate. As per the legislation, medical practitioners cannot prescribe opioids for more than three days to Floridians struggling with acute pain. The only exception to provide a longer treatment is in the case of an absence of alternative treatment and the doctors feel the medical need to write a prescription for seven days. However, patients already taking opioids for chronic pain remain unaffected.

The new legislation aims to combat the opioid menace in the state by preventing the influx of excess of medicines into the black market.

$15.7 million to be spent on drugs to treat addiction cases

State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto has opposed the bill by citing that prescription medications are gateway drugs like heroin, another widely abused drug across the country. She feels that in a state where 16 people succumb to opioid overdose every day, this may not be the best solution. Even the doctors countered the seven-day limit and advocated for at least 14 days of prescription for people recovering from major surgery.

The bill also makes it compulsory for doctors to attend the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. It will also allow the state to share its data of prescription drugs with other states to curb doctor shopping. Additionally, the bill includes $42.6 million to fight the crisis, out of which, $15.7 million will be spent on drugs like methadone and naltrexone to treat addiction cases.

Understanding opioid addiction

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established that the risk of someone becoming dependent on opioids is the maximum in the first few days. According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the initial days of opioid treatment are critical to control the risk of long-term use. The report established that with the third day, the chances of chronic opioid use increased with each additional day of medication among cancer-free patients who were prescribed pain relievers.

Opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and produce a sense of high among users. Once addicted, an individual can destroy his or her life under the influence by not caring for anything else. Gradually, people desire for a higher dose to satiate the pleasure centers in their brain. Under the influence, a person might indulge in risk-taking behavior, such as drugged driving, unsafe sexual activities, domestic violence, and physical or verbal abuse. It is important to recognize the symptoms of abuse and addiction in time, and encourage drug users to get professional support at the earliest.

Road to recovery

People who abuse prescription drugs usually get it easily in home cabinets or through parents’ or friends’ prescriptions. When their count of the prescriptions run dry, they turn to a much cheaper drug, heroin, but unfortunately, drug traffickers lace it with fentanyl and the buyer is usually not aware of this. This practice has led to an unprecedented rise in overdose deaths. However, earlier the problem is rectified, higher the chance of preventing people from abusing other drugs. The treatment for opioid or heroin addiction depends on the history of abuse, duration and frequency of drug taken and the patient’s condition.

An expert in mental illness and substance abuse treatment, Sovereign Health of Florida provides top-notch services for heroin addiction treatment at its Fort Myers and Pompano Beach facilities. A comprehensive treatment to help heroin users recover may involve detoxification followed by therapy and counseling. For more information on our reputed heroin detox centers and treatment plans, call our 24/7 helpline. You can also chat online with one of our representatives for further assistance.

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