In an effort to combat the national opioid epidemic in Florida, in March 2018 Governor Rick Scott signed HB 21 creating new limits on schedule II prescriptions for pain medication. These restrictions do not apply to patients suffering pain from:
- terminal illness
- provision of relief for symptoms related an incurable, progressive illness or injury (chronic nonmalignant pain)
- palliative care, or
- serious traumatic injuries
The law (Section 456.44(3)(d), F.S.) does require that a prescribing practitioner see a patient being treated with controlled substances for chronic nonmalignant pain at least once every three months.
In proposing the 2018 legislation, lawmakers focused attention on preventing addiction through placing opioid prescription limits for patients with acute pain. The law places a three-day limit on opioid prescription for acute pain. However, the practitioner may prescribe up to a 7-day supply if he or she determines it is medically necessary.