On optimism and legislation: House Democrats push opioid package


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.

A Periscope video of the press conference is below:

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn