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Northeast Florida Senator Wants To Help Pain Patients Get Meds

Before instituting new pain medication rules, Florida was known as one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse. Now, the state's overdose rate has dropped 25 percent, but some legitimate patients have also been affected.
Before instituting new pain medication rules, Florida was known as one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse. Now, the state's overdose rate has dropped 25 percent, but some legitimate patients have also been affected.
Before instituting new pain medication rules, Florida was known as one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse. Now, the state's overdose rate has dropped 25 percent, but some legitimate patients have also been affected.
Credit Frankie Leon / Flickr Creative Commons
Before instituting new pain medication rules, Florida was known as one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse. Now, the state's overdose rate has dropped 25 percent, but some legitimate patients have also been affected.

Since Florida implemented its prescription drug monitoring program four years ago, prescription overdose deaths have dropped by 25 percent. That’s according to a new University of Florida study.

But the new state regulations have also had an unintended effect — people who have a legitimate need for pain medication are having a harder time finding it.

For one thing, Senate Health Policy Chair Aaron Bean says a 5,000-pill cap for pharmacies creates artificial scarcity.

“A lot of times pharmacists and pharmacies just aren’t able to keep the medicines in stock and we think one of the problems is that state law put some caps in place,” Bean says.

He says his office has been inundated with calls from constituents suffering with debilitating diseases who say they’re lives have been negatively affected. His announcement also comes after extensive reporting from the News Service of Florida.

The Fernandina Beach Republican Senator says he’ll soon file a bill removing the cap, but leaving other aspects of the prescription-management program in place. 

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