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Florida opioid deaths continue to skyrocket

Skyrocketing number of opioid-addicted children admitted to ERs
Posted at 12:38 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 12:38:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - As opioid-related deaths in Florida continue to skyrocket, Governor Rick Scott and lawmakers have deemed the public-health crisis a top priority during the 60-day legislative session that began this week.

Scott wants to spend $53 million to address the issue, with much of the money going to substance-abuse treatment.

Legislation is also moving that would restrict doctors to prescribing between three and seven days’ worth of opioids for patients with acute pain and would force physicians to consult a statewide database before prescribing potentially addictive pain medications.

During a news conference at the state capitol Thursday, legislative Democrats came forth with some ideas of their own, ranging from putting warning signs on prescriptions to charging additional court fees in drug-related cases.

State Representative Matt Willhite wants funding set aside to teach college students about the dangers of opioid drugs. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is a problem on our streets in the state of Florida, and it’s not potholes," said Willhite, D- Wellington. "It’s opioids, it’s heroin, it’s overdoses and unfortunately, it’s deaths.”

Other ideas presented by Democratic lawmakers include reinstating the state office of drug control and increasing access to better substance abuse treatments for low-income Floridians who are on Medicaid.