Florida Legislation Aimed At Opioid Abuse Tied To Dip In Prescriptions


To address so-called “pill mills,” or rogue pain management clinics where prescription opioids were being inappropriately prescribed or dispensed, Florida passed legislation in 2010 requiring the centers to register with the state and be owned by doctors. The state also established a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which became operational in September 2011.

A year after both changes took effect, these policies were linked to a 1.4 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions, the researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine…

To understand the impact of Florida’s “pill mill” law on opioid use in the state, researchers reviewed 480 million prescriptions from July 2010 to September 2012 in the state as well as in neighboring Georgia, which didn’t have a similar law. Overall, about 8 percent of the prescriptions were for opioids. The database included records for 2.6 million patients, almost 432,000 prescribers and roughly 2,800 pharmacies.

Over the study period, total opioid volume decreased 4 percent in Florida and 2.3 percent in Georgia, based on the weight of the prescribed drugs…

Nor did the study track whether the decrease in opioid prescriptions was linked to fewer overdoses or deaths.

Even so, the findings suggest that Florida’s policies are having the intended effect, said Dr. Laxmaiah Manchikanti, a researcher at the University of Louisville and medical director of the Pain Management Center of Paducah in Kentucky.

“Both are meant to control abuse and excessive use and illegitimate use of medications,” Manchikanti, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Florida’s pill mill law has achieved these goals.”

Andrew Rosenblum, executive director of the National Development and Research Institutes, a non-profit health group based in New York, told Reuters Health by email that in addition to pill mill and prescription monitoring laws, other strategies for cutting opioid overuse include educating patients about risks and encouraging doctors to limit the number of medications prescribed, particularly for short-term pain relief after surgery or dental work…

I feel bad for dentists and surgeons. The drug war is reducing their customer base. Who wants to have a root canal or knee surgery if doctors refuse to treat the resulting pain?

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