Regulation of Medicine


ALERT – New Florida Opioid Law

By Joshua D. Aubuchon, Nichole Lydon and Carrie Lowe

On March 19, 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 21, a comprehensive opioid bill, into law.  The new law, which will go into effect on July 1, 2018, addresses opioid abuse by increasing the regulation of prescriptions for controlled substances and expanding the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

In summary, the new law:

  • Requires all practitioners who have a DEA number and are authorized to prescribe controlled substances to complete a board approved 2-hour CME course offered by a statewide professional association of physicians in Florida accredited to provide AMA Category 1 (or American Osteopathic Category 1-A) CME credit as part of their biennial license renewal. This course must be completed by January 31, 2019, and at each subsequent renewal.
  • Limits the prescription for a Schedule II opioid for acute pain to a 3-day supply, or a 7-day supply if deemed medically necessary by the prescriber and with proper documentation. The definition of acute pain excludes pain related to cancer, terminal illness, palliative care, and serious traumatic injury with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) of 9 or greater.
  • Requires a concurrent prescription for an emergency opioid antagonist with the prescription of Schedule II controlled substances for the treatment of pain related to a serious traumatic injury with an ISS of 9 or greater.
  • Requires regulatory boards within the Department of Health to establish guidelines for prescribing controlled substances for acute pain.
  • Requires healthcare providers to review a patient’s PDMP history before prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance, with limited exemptions.  
  • Authorizes a dispensing practitioner to dispense Schedule II and III substances that have been approved by the FDA for treating opiate addictions to the practitioner’s own patients for the medication-assisted treatment of opiate addiction.
  • Adds substances to the definitions of Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V and requires that Schedule V substances must be reported to the PDMP.
  • Authorizes electronic prescriptions for controlled substances.
  • Requires pharmacists and dispensing physicians to verify a patient’s identity prior to dispensing controlled substances.

The full text of the new law can be found here. 


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