New laws target cough-syrup abuse, opioid abuse, legal process - Florida Politics

New laws target cough-syrup abuse, opioid abuse, legal process

A law taking effect on New Year’s Day will make it more difficult for kids to abuse over-the-counter cough medicine to go “Robo-tripping.”

SB 938 makes it illegal for manufacturers, distributors, or retailers to supply medicines containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to anyone under 18. Anyone who looks younger than 25 would have to supply proof of age.

The law forbids local governments from setting up their own restrictions.

The law is among a number approved during 2016 that take effect on Jan. 1. The others have to do with opioid prescriptions and the technical details of suing financial institutions.

Under the DXM law, anyone who possesses or receives a product containing the drug with the intent to distribute would face civil penalties of $100 for each violation.

An employee who makes the sale could receive a written warning, but the employer could have to pay $100 per violation. Employers could escape the penalty by showing a good-faith effort to comply with the law.

More than 120 products, including Robitussin, Coricidin, and Vicks 44, contain DXM, making it the most frequently used cough medicine in the United States. It is safe if used as intended, but its abuse via consumption in large doses or in combination with alcohol or other drugs can be deadly, according to a legislative analysis.

The kids call it “robo-tripping” or “skittling.”

Another new law, SB 422, is intended to increase the availability of “abuse deterrent” opioids. Addicts often crush opioids, such as Hydrocodone, so they can snort, smoke, or inject them. New manufacturing techniques deter abuse by making them very difficult to tamper with.

The new law would prevent health insurers from requiring pre-approval to substitute abuse-deterrent drugs for those more liable to abuse.

SB 1104 allows financial institutions to designate a central location or a person as the place or agent for the service of process — that is, for delivery of subpoenas, summonses or writs in lawsuits.

The law was a response to a 4th District Court of Appeal ruling invalidating a writ of garnishment on Bank of America. A process server had served a bank teller in West Palm Beach, but the court said that wasn’t good enough unless every superior officer in the bank was unavailable.

Finally, under a constitutional amendment the voters approved in 2004, Florida’s minimum wage will increase by a nickel — from $8.05 to $8.10 per hour.

The amendment requires the state to tie the minimum wage to the federal Consumer Price Index.

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