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Florida Legislature Proactive In Dealing With Opioid Abuse

Associated Press
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Opioid abuse was among the most pressing issues that state legislatures around the country dealt with during 2016, according to a report by Pew.

As many states struggle to deal with the epidemic, Florida is ahead of the curve.

The state was among the first states to do something about the burgeoning opioid epidemic in 2011 when it passed laws to stop doctor shopping, making it harder for addicts to get prescriptions.

Research shows that doctors were prescribing fewer opioids following the law's implementation, said Scott Greenberger, editor of Stateline, which produced the Pew study.

"It does seem that those laws are having the intended effect," Greenberger said.  

This year, Florida's Legislature joined about 40 other states in making an antidote for opioid overdoses more readily available for friends or family who might be in a position to save someone.

"That has been hailed as a way to save people who are in emergency situations and in danger of dying from an overdose," Greenberger said.

The law makes the antidote available in pharmacies without a prescription. 

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.