Patients should be of aware of treatments other than opioids, lawmakers say

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Trying to curtail the opioid epidemic, Florida lawmakers are pushing legislation to require healthcare providers to notify patients about non-opioid treatments for pain management.

A bill in the state House is advancing, with lawmakers approving the legislation Thursday in the Health & Human Services Committee. The bill now heads to the full House for a vote.

Current law requires physicians to notify patients about other treatments for pain when receiving care before prescribing opioids. Health officials want to decrease the number of people who develop opioid dependency and abuse the drug.

The legislation was filed by State Rep. Scott Plakon, a Republican representing parts of Seminole county.

At the Thursday committee meeting, lawmakers made slight changes to the original bill, HB 743, which only applied to non-emergency settings. But the amended language includes emergency situations such as “a patient receiving hospice care services and a patient receiving care for cancer or a terminal condition,” according to the most recent version.

The Florida Phoenix previously reported physicians also must give their patients the informational pamphlet “Alternatives to Opioids,” which was created by the Florida Department of Health.

Alternative treatment options include: non-opioid medicinal drugs or drug products; interventional procedures or treatments; acupuncture; chiropractic treatments; massage therapy; physical therapy; occupational therapy; or any other appropriate therapy as determined by the health care practitioner.