Health officials in Florida are calling on the public to be cautious about the prescription opioid prescribing in the state.
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is recommending that all patients, regardless of age, gender, disability or history of opioid use, take their medications with caution.
The recommendation comes as lawmakers are pushing to ease restrictions on how many opioid prescriptions can be written for each patient.
“We want to make sure that patients are comfortable taking their medications in a safe manner,” Dr. David Wieder, FDOH’s deputy commissioner for health, told CNN.
“We are encouraging patients to discuss their use with their doctor.”
“This is a big change in prescribing practices that has to be carefully monitored,” Wieders said.
“It’s a big step forward in the process of improving access to opiate medications for Florida residents.”
Wieder said the FDOH is encouraging patients who are not opioid dependent to use medications that are not listed as a Schedule I or II drug.
Schedule I drugs include heroin, morphine and fentanyl.
Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone and heroin.
“There are people who have opiate addiction who are receiving their prescription in a way that we do not believe is medically necessary,” Wiegers said.
As of July 1, the FDoh had approved more than 20,000 opioid prescriptions for people aged 65 and over.
That was a 30% increase over the same time period last year.
The FDOH also released a list of opiate-specific drug labels on Monday.
If you have an opioid addiction and are looking for a medical professional, you may want to contact the FDO at 855-854-2323.
The number of opioid-specific medications approved in Florida last year is also up from last year, according to the FDH.
It’s also important to note that people with certain types of conditions, such as people with chronic pain or asthma, can be prescribed opioids in limited circumstances.
Wieders emphasized that there is still work to be done in the medical community.
However, he said, “We want patients to be aware of their options.”
“Our message is, get tested, get screened, get monitored,” he said.
“You don’t have to take any of the medications for pain, but they all should be taken in a controlled, controlled way.”