Palm Beach Post Editorial: Despite new law, Florida needs bigger commitment on opioids

It’s an election year, so of course Rick Scott is pretending to care about Floridians. Up this week: Florida’s opioid crisis, which he only seems to pay attention to when there are TV cameras nearby. Last year, Scott’s P.R. stunts included signing the same bill four times in ceremonial bill signings, while providing a woefully inadequate amount of funding for the opioid crisis. Thousands of Floridians have been victims of the opioid crisis  — while Rick Scott is only focused on cutting taxes for his wealthy friends and donors. Come November, Floridians will remember his inaction.

Palm Beach Post: Editorial: Despite new law, Florida needs bigger commitment on opioids
March 20, 2018

  • “With plenty of pomp, Gov. Rick Scott came to Boca Raton on Monday to ceremoniously sign a high-profile bill designed to prevent Floridians from getting hooked on opioids. If only this new law were anywhere near as powerful as the addictions it hopes to combat.”
  • “Although the governor last year declared a public health emergency, the reality is that he has done far too little to attack a crisis tied to 5,725 deaths in his state last year: 15 deaths a day. His declaration made it possible to immediately draw $27 million from a federal grant for some prevention, treatment and recovery-support services but didn’t do much beyond that.”
  • “The $53.6 million package ($65 million, when additional money from the budget is added in) is simply no match for the need.”
  • “Even Attorney General Pam Bondi said in January that $53 million to fund the war on opioids would be ‘a great start’ but far from enough. ‘In an $80 billion budget, that’s nothing,’ she remarked.”
  • “Lest we forget, Scott was late to the opioid fight. It took weeks of public pressure last year to get him to declare a public health emergency. His reluctance was reminiscent of 2011 when, during the height of the pill mill crisis, he scrapped the Office of Drug Control, leaving no state agency to coordinate a statewide response to this day. That same year, he proposed eliminating the prescription drug monitoring program he has just signed into law, saying then that ‘I don’t think it’s the state’s responsibility.'”
  • “Perhaps most important, Scott also led the state’s resistance to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a prime funding source for substance abuse treatment.”

Read the full story here.

American Bridge has been holding Rick Scott accountable for his failure to address Florida’s opioid crisis since the beginning of 2017. Last summer, American Bridge released a 5 minute mini-documentary on Rick Scott’s negligent response to Florida’s addiction and opioid crisis.