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Opioid Emergency Declaration Will Likely Have Limited Impact In Florida

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Credit Christine Cabalo via wikimedia commons
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President Donald Trump has declared a nationwide public health emergency for the opioid crisis.  But the immediate impact in Florida will be minimal.

The president’s official declaration comes more than two months after he initially called opioid abuse a national emergency.  The move allows for a handful of policy tweaks but no new money.  Melanie Brown-Woofter of the Florida Council for community mental health says more attention is great, but federal authorities need to do more.

“Acknowledging that this is a public health emergency is an excellent first step, but we need resources in order to be able to move forward with prevention, with recovery and with getting folks back in—getting their lives back.”

One significant effect of the emergency declaration is physicians will be able to prescribe medication assisted treatments through telemedicine. 

It could also mean expedited state waivers for certain Medicaid dollars, but Florida Council director of advocacy Jane Johnson says isn’t a game-changer.

“In terms of the immediate impact to Florida, I don’t think mental health providers will see anything really change the way they’re doing business in the next 30 to 60 days.”

At the state level, lawmakers are pushing for opioid prescribing limits, and mandatory use of the prescription drug monitoring program for physicians. 

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Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.