July 12, 2011 Delray Beach, FL – Florida’s addiction treatment programs are preparing for an inflow of clients as a result of the new state law intended to shut down pill mills and make addictive prescription drugs more difficult for addicts and dealers to obtain.
“Essentially you have a new class of drug-addicted individuals who if their supply is stopped will need at least detox capacity and most probably treatment capacity, and programs are full across the state,” said Mark Fontaine, executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.
With in the last few years, Florida prescription drug addiction has become a nationwide concern. Pain-clinics, also known as pill mills have been flooding the area, especially in South and Central Florida.
The Department of Law Enforcement reported that nine Floridians are dying everyday from prescription-drug overdoses. Florida law enforcement also stated that Midwestern residents in states like, Illinois and Kansas have been trafficking Florida pain pills for years.
Following heated debate and extensive negotiation, Florida lawmakers settled on a law this spring that includes administrative and criminal penalties for overprescribing narcotics, prohibits some doctors from dispensing narcotics and commands a new permitting process for pharmacies selling prescription medications such as oxycodone and other controlled substances. The law also lays out a number of individual pain clinic standards and requires doctors seven days to submit prescription medications to the state for a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that will keep track of those who may be doctor shopping.
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which went into effect July 1, is intended to stop drug addicts and dealers from acquiring prescriptions. The state has high hopes for a positive outcome of the new law, but what the state hasn’t planned for is whether or not addiction treatment programs will have the space or the appropriate funds available to provide proper detoxification and treatment services for the countless prescription drug addicts in need.
For publicly funded addiction treatment programs, the numbers have already increased from the prescription drug crisis in the state of Florida. According to local addiction experts, there is no way our publicly funded addiction treatment programs can handle a dramatic surge in patients.
Due to the new law, emergency room doctors in the area have already seen an upspring in patients coming in with prescription drug withdrawal symptoms who are in need of a medical drug detoxification program because they are with out their drug supply.
Private addiction treatment programs like Palm Partners Recovery Center in Delray Beach, FL are expecting to see more new clients at every level of care with in the very near future.
The goal is obviously to help more individuals break the vicious cycle of addiction, but the state will also have to pay close attention to the effect the increased demand will place on the state.
With state funded addiction treatment programs already full in Florida, what will happen when all of these prescription drug addicted individuals can’t get their fix and they can’t get help?
Senator Mike Fasano, who sponsored the Florida pill-mill legislation, stated that we must track the battle against prescription drug abuse to determine whether dealers are manipulating their way around the new law. In this moment, however, his attention is on whether addiction treatment programs can provide drug detox and proper addiction treatment for all in need.
Fasano also spoke about the fact that we will need to attend to those addicts who are not able to get what they need to get high and are not able to get proper drug detoxification before they begin committing crimes.