Florida governor and attorney general back legislation to curb opioid abuse

Republican Governor Rick Scott and state Attorney General Pam Bondi publicly endorsed two pieces of legislation Tuesday designed to combat the opioid epidemic in Florida, according to a report from WGCU.

Both bills are in the state Senate. One would add the extremely potent synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil to Florida's drug trafficking statute. The second would increase regulations on drug recovery homes by cracking down on deceptive marketing practices.

The legislative backing from the two state officials came during a press conference held in the wake of appeals from central and south Florida leaders to officially declare the drug epidemic a public health crisis in the state. The officials jointly announced that workshops will be held in parts of the state hit hardest by the epidemic for the purpose of gathering information on the crisis from local leaders. No official designation of public crisis was made.

"This is a national, ongoing, long-term epidemic, that's why we're going to tackle this from a national level," said Ms. Bondi, who's been appointed to President Donald Trump's Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission, according to the report.

The workshops announced during the press conference will be held in Duval, Manatee, Orange and Palm Beach counties. The workshops will invite local leaders, health officials, healthcare providers and law enforcement to discuss the epidemic in their specific communities.

"We're hearing from people all over the state with their ideas," said Gov. Scott, according to the report. "The goal with this is to try to organize those ideas to see if we can find out exactly some things we can do to have an impact."

Democratic State Senator Jeff Clemens, Lake Worth, said more immediate solutions than those presented during the press conference are needed.

"Earlier today, we declared a state of emergency for wildfires in the state of Florida that have killed exactly zero," said Sen. Clemens, according to the report. "I think we need to pay attention to an epidemic that has caused the death of thousands in the past several years."

More articles on opioids: 
Study: Prolonged opioid use is the most common postsurgical complication 
7 findings on Medicaid opioid use and spending 
Study: Medicaid enrollees have limited access to opioid treatment programs


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