This memorandum represents a quick summary, of the elements of a new Florida law (HB 21) that went into effect on July 1, 2018.

Mandatory Opioid Course

The law (HB 21) creates FS 456.0301, which requires every licensed practitioner with a DEA license to take a board-approved two hour course on prescribing controlled substances, to be completed no later than January 31, 2019, and every biennium thereafter.  It should be noted that this course requirement is requirement of any practitioner with a DEA license, regardless of whether such a practitioner actually prescribes opiates or any other controlled substance.

As of the press date, the Florida Medical Association, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, and the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, as well as a few private entities, have been approved to provide the course.

New Limits on the Prescribing of Opiates

The new law limits the prescription of Schedule II opiates for  “acute pain” (which includes surgical pain) to three days, although the prescription may be extended to seven days of the need for such extra time is both documented in the record and the actual prescription includes the words “Acute Pain Exception.”  The law also requires the physician to query the Prescription Data Monitoring Program database through E-Force prior to prescribing ANY controlled substance (other than a Schedule V non-opiate). 

While HB 21 goes into effect on Sunday, the Board of Medicine has only begun its process of drafting rules to implement the finer points of its interpretation.  Stay tuned for developments as they occur.