New Florida Law Impacts Opioid Prescription Painkillers
A study published by JAMA Internal Medicine compares prescription painkiller data in Florida and Georgia from July 2010 to September 2012 to show a significant decrease in the prescribing of oxycodone. Before a 2010 law aimed at regulating pain management clinics, South Florida was a serious player in the nation black market for prescription painkillers. In 2010, Florida doctors sold almost 46 million oxycodone tablets. In 2011-after the law went into effect-that number dropped to 1.2 million pills, a 97% decrease.
Under the new law, clinics have to register with the state, and doctors can no longer dispense opioid prescription painkillers from their offices. Before the law, doctors in storefront clinics could sell drugs to walk-in patients carrying cash. In addition to tougher laws, Florida also implemented the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to provide healthcare professionals with a more comprehensive look at patients' prescription drug histories.
Authors of the study believe that the data shows a promising drop after the state law went into effect. Dr. Lainie Rutkow, an associate professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health told WLRN News, "the declines that we saw were equal to something in the range of 500,000 5 mg tabs of Vicodin per month."
The use of opioid prescription painkillers is a major public health concern. According to a July 2014 report from the Center for Disease Control, 46 people per day die from overdose of prescription painkillers in the Unites States.