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A New Change in Florida

florida drug lawsThe Tampa Bay Times reports that the Health and Human Services committee in the Florida House of Representatives has approved a HB 831 by a vote of 16 to 2, which sends this bill to the entire House for a vote. This bill is intended to help healthcare providers identify patients who are attempting to obtain more drugs.

What’s at Stake

The bill originally called for the following changes to Florida law:

  • Reduce the deadline for reporting prescriptions from seven to two days
  • Allow pharmaceutical companies to provide partial funding for the bill
  • Require physicians to check the patient’s prescription history in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

The PDMP is Florida’s drug-tracking program, which is now two years old. It was implemented in Sept. 2011 with the primary purpose of cracking down on healthcare facilities that primarily issue prescriptions to recreational drug users and drug dealers. These facilities are commonly known as “pill mills.” Rep. Joe Gibbons stated that pill mills in Florida were once frequented by people from all over the country due to the ease of obtaining prescription drugs in Florida. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem that is on the rise in many states. Learn more about this challenge.

Doctors are not Pleased

Doctors’ group lobbied hard to remove the requirement for physicians to check the PDMP, which typically requires 30 seconds. Republican Ronald Renuart succeeded in making this change to the bill during the week of April 1st. He stated that he thought it was important that physicians check their patient’s prescription history, although he didn’t think it should be mandatory. Rep. Mike Fasano, sponsor of the bill, said he wants the House to eventually accept a proposal from the Senate that would require physicians to check the PDMP for new patients. He added that the purpose of this requirement is to prevent patients from doctor shopping, which occurs when a patient repeatedly seeks doctors to find one who will provide the desired prescription.

Benefits of the New System

The reduction in the deadline for Florida physicians to enter prescriptions within two days instead of seven days will reduce the amount of time available for patients to doctor shop. Some physicians favor the requirement for physicians to check the PDMP. Rep. Cary Pigman is also an emergency room doctor who wrote a prescription for a patient during the weekend of April 6. He reported that he wrote a prescription for a patient, only to learn from the pharmacist that the patient had already received a prescription for the same medication on the previous Friday.

Finding Help

If you, or someone you know, suffers from prescription drug addiction there is help available. Blu By the Sea can help you find treatment for many prescription drugs (learn more) and if you contact us we can talk to you about options. Our exceptional addiction treatment program can help users end their habit and start a new sober life.