Whether you love him or hate him, Rick Scott is here to stay for awhile. Governor Scott passed 68 bills last Friday for 2016- six of which directly relate to mental health, medical marijuana, and prescription drugs. But that’s not all. Florida is in an uproar regarding a bill passed restricting access to safe, legal abortions. The Huffington Post says it best,
“Rick Scott, chipping away at Roe vs. Wade, one terrible law at a time.”
Thankfully it’s not all bad. In terms of quasi prevention attempts, Rick Scott’s approval of six laws surrounding abuse (although the laws never directly mention “drug abuse”) and the distribution of Narcan, are Florida’s mini victories.
Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
Florida Senate: House Bill 422 Health Insurance Coverage for Opiates (2016)
Abuse Deterrent drugs aren’t new, but not every patient who is prescribed an opiate medication has been able to freely access safe, deterrent forms of their medications. Counter intuitive regulations required patients to have “prior authorization” for abuse deterrent models. HB 422 allows insurance companies to continue requiring authorization only if traditional medications also require the same.
Essentially this means patients who are prescribed opiates will not be required to use traditional opiates without deterrent properties; eliminating the waiting period may help those with a predisposition for abuse abstain from altering prescription opiates.
Florida Senate: House Bill 1241 Ordering of Medication (2016)
Sunshine State meets legalized Narcan! Bill 1241 awards pharmacists the right to dispense opioid antagonists in an auto injection pen or intranasal spray. That’s right, you can now go to any pharmacy (that stocks Narcan or naloxone) to pick up the drug preventing fatal overdoses all over the country.
Florida Senate: House Bill 769 Mental Health Treatment (2016)
Extends the administration of psychotropic medication to patients newly admitted into treatment. HB 769 allows for reviews of mental competency, and based off of assertions, patients may avoid criminal charges if deemed “incompetent” to proceed to trial.
Florida Senate: House Bill 439 Mental Health Services in the Criminal Justice System (2016)
One of my personal favorites- HB 439 authorizes treatment based models of “disciplinary” action as opposed to incarceration; resulting in the creation of the Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program, charged with creating and monitoring mental health court programs.
Courts will have the option to refer defendants to probation, community service, or mental health court programs.
Florida Senate: House Bill 307 Medical Use of Cannabis (2016)
Revises laws surrounding cannabis dispensaries, compelling companies’ adherence to new regulations; requires the department of health to approve “certain dispensing organizations or applications to provide low-THC cannabis.”
I suppose if you’re not running a dispensary this bill isn’t quite applicable, but it remains to be seen the effects new regulations will have on the ease of availability for medical marijuana.
Florida Senate: House Bill 1313 Low-THC Cannabis Medical Use (2016)
Penalizes physicians ordering low-THC cannabis from dispensaries while receiving compensation from the same companies; approves laboratory staff to “possess, test, transport, & lawfully dispose of low-THC cannabis or paraphernalia.”
In so many words, HB 1313 allows dispensaries to operate legally- and punishes practitioners who received medical marijuana with the incentive of (fulfilled) compensation.
What’s your opinion on the bills Rick Scott just passed?