A team of House Democrats Thursday rolled out a legislative package to combat the state’s opioid abuse epidemic.
The bills included putting addiction warning labels on prescription bottles, charging a new court fee to help smaller counties deal with the problem, and an application to the feds for more money to expand treatment, among other ideas.
Now, how does the minority party get these bills heard, let alone passed?
“We’re optimistic,” said House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee of Miami at a Capitol press conference.
When told optimism alone doesn’t pass legislation, McGhee replied, “Optimism may not pass bills, but it’s a great start.
“… We move away from speculation, we stick with optimism, and I can assure you there is not a single legislator here who has not seen the effects of what these drugs are causing in our communities,” he added.
Gov. Rick Scott already has proposed roughly $50 million in 2018-19 funding for substance abuse treatment, counseling and recovery services.
Latest numbers show that in 2016 there was a 35 percent jump in opioid-related deaths from the previous year. Lawmakers are considering options this Session to stop the spread of drug addiction and patients’ dependence on prescription medicines that may lead to the use of other drugs like heroin.
Federal officials have said the number of patients who were prescribed both an opioid and a benzodiazepine, primarily used for treating anxiety, sharply increased from 2002 to 2014, and the number of overdoses nearly tripled from 2004 to 2011.
— Jim Rosica (@JimRosicaFL) January 11, 2018