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Our attorney, Nicholas Primrose, was invited to travel to Washington, D.C. as part of a community leaders trip with Central Florida Congressman John Mica‘s office. Community leaders throughout Central Florida were invited for a private tour of the Capitol and meetings with other elected officials. One of the highlights of the trip was getting to watch the House of Representatives vote on H.R. 720, a bill designed to create a task-force to review, modify, and update the best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication. The House Resolution passed with bipartisan support, 412 out of the 435 Representatives voted in favor of the resolution.

Specifically, this bill will look into the management of highly addictive pain prescriptions and other opioids. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Opiod Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures, we are currently facing an opioid overdose epidemic, with drug overdoes being the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control says that overdose is not the only risk, but risks include “misuse, abuse, and addiction” as other dangers. “In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids,” with “over 1,000 people [being] treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.”

Mr. Primrose also had the chance to meet Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who during his weekly address discussed the epidemic and the number of initiatives bipartisan members in the House are working to pass. Last year, the Florida Legislature acted quickly to address the issue of pill mills and rogue pain management clinics. From July 2010 to September 2012, Florida saw a decrease of 4% in opioid prescriptions. This is an important issue that needs to be cautiously looked at to protect Florida residents from the unintended consequences in managing their pain. Many times pain medication is a necessity for individuals, and under the careful watch of a licenses physician can be effective in managing pain.

Also, while in Washington, Mr. Primrose had the chance to learn about the Florida Department of Transportation’s efforts in bringing federal gas tax money back to the state. In 2014, the Washington Post ranked Florida has the best in the nation for the quality of its roads and bridges. According to their report, only 4% of the roads in Florida are in disrepair. The national average is 14%. Having well kept roadways protects drivers in two ways: (1) keeps car maintenance and repair costs low and (2) reduces the risk of accidents caused by road defects. The Economist explained in 2014 that Sweden had some of the safest roadways in the world, partially due to their design of safety over speed or convenience. Sweden’s goal is to have zero vehicle-related deaths, and they’ve reduce roadway deaths by half since 2000. Central Florida could certainly take some advice from the Swedish, as Florida has three of the most dangerous roadways in the nation.

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