Florida bill would require physicians to discuss opioid alternatives

A bill in Florida would allow health care providers to provide patients with educational pamphlets regarding opioid alternatives for pain treatment.

Representative Scott Plakon filed HB 725 on Feb.3. It passed the Professions & Public Health Subcommittee by a 15-3 vote on Wednesday.

The bill would require physicians to discuss multiple types of painkiller alternatives to opioids before prescribing an opioid drug to their patient. Options include other drug products, interventional procedures, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, physical therapy and more.

Physicians will also be required to discuss the risk of opioids with patients and whether or not the patient has a history of drug abuse, or an increased likelihood to abuse drugs. An educational pamphlet also must be distributed to the patient electronically or by print.


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Finally, physicians must record the opioid alternatives discussed in the patients’ medical record.

The bill has now been referred to the Health & Human Services committee.

Reducing the usage of opioids has been a priority for legislators across the country in recent years. The opioid epidemic was officially declared a national emergency in 2017. Former Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared the epidemic a statewide emergency in the same year.

More than 4,700 Floridians died from an overdose in 2018. A large portion of overdose deaths in the state can be linked to abuse of opioids.

In February, the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville received a $1.46 million grant in order to research and implement alternatives to opioids. The researchers hope to create a system where patients can potentially choose alternatives to the drugs through an informational menu.