CDC’s New Opioid Guidelines Rejected By Florida

The Florida Department of Health has rejected the new CDC guidelines for opioid prescribing, citing the ongoing opioid crisis and the recent fentanyl explosion.

The CDC updated its Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for pain in early November, easing its previous strict guidance by pointing out that opioids can be essential medications for pain management while also noting that they carry significant potential risks.

Opioid use disorder is a chronic life-threatening disease that people contract through exposure to opioids, whether illicit or prescribed by a physician, according to Florida's Deputy Secretary for Health, and now is not the time for the CDC to relax its opioid recommendations.

He even stated that more Americans between the ages of 18 and 45 died from an overdose in 2020 than from car accidents and suicide combined, and he questions why the new report contradicts sound advice and downplays the clear and proven dangers of opioids.

For nearly two decades, the United States has been dealing with an opioid crisis. More than 90,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2020, with opioids accounting for 75% of the deaths. In 2020, overdose killed more Americans aged 18 to 45 than car accidents and suicide combined.

Opioid use disorder is a chronic, life-threatening disease caused by opioid exposure, whether illicit or prescribed by a physician. In recognition of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in 2016 about the dangers of overprescribing and the need to limit opioid prescriptions for acute pain to three days. It also advised doctors to avoid exceeding 90 milligrammes of morphine per day.

Nonetheless, the CDC updated its Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain in early November. The updated recommendations abandon the three-day limit on opioid treatment and remove the dosage recommendation. According to the accompanying 2022 report, opioids can be essential medications for pain management; however, they carry significant potential risks.

Opioids were described as having serious risks in the 2016 report, including overdose and opioid use disorder. It doesn't have any potential. While opioids may be required for severe conditions and end-of-life care, the general public should not be told that they are required for pain management.

Many recent generations of healthcare professionals will identify with episodes of the Hulu series "Dopesick," which tells the story of the dark years before the dangers of opioids were recognised. Opioid overprescribing has resulted in addiction and dependence on illicit drugs. According to one study, 80% of heroin users began with prescribed opioids.

In Florida, significant progress is being made in understanding this disease and the need for non-opioid pain-management options. The state has taken aggressive steps to combat the deadly opioid crisis with evidence-based treatment, while also holding those who knowingly contribute to the spread of this disease accountable.

Nonetheless, there has been a surge in the use of lethal fentanyl in our state, both as a replacement for older illicit opioids and as an additive in a variety of other street drugs. In Florida, fentanyl-related overdose deaths have increased by 790% since 2015.

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