For the second year in a row, Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, is working to pass legislation fighting against the nation’s opioid crisis.
On Wednesday, the Health Quality Subcommittee approved HB 21, “An Act Related to Controlled Substances,” which was sponsored by Boyd, R-Bradenton. Last year, he addressed the crisis with a bill that increased the minimum mandatory sentence for drug traffickers.
“This is step two in our ongoing effort to combat this horrid epidemic. Last year, we focused on addressing the opioid crisis by targeting illicit use,” Boyd said in a press release after the bill presentation. “Now, access and distribution are at the forefront of the policy conversation.”
According to Boyd, HB 21 is meant to limit the abuse of opioid drugs by placing limits on the supply of drugs a doctor can prescribe a patient dealing with short-term pain to three days. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she supports the bill.
“Our fight against the national opioid crisis claiming lives in Florida continues, and this legislation would help bolster state efforts and save lives,” Bondi said in a press release.
Boyd wrote a letter to the editor in the Bradenton Herald clarifying his position on the issue. He said his bill was based on guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and would help relieve Florida of the most “serious and horrific” issue he has ever seen.
The legislator also said the bill would not affect patients that receive opioid drugs to deal with chronic pain.
In addition to a three-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions for patients with acute pain, unless they meet “strict conditions” for a seven-day supply, the bill would require all health care professionals that prescribe medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is a statewide database that monitors controlled substance prescriptions. It would also allow the Department of Health to share that information with other states.
“This epidemic has gone on for too long and destroyed too many families,” Boyd said. “Florida families deserve to know how hard we are working to alleviate opioid abuse, and this proposal exemplifies our collective dedication to fighting the disastrous epidemic.”