Recent Changes to Florida’s Pain Management Laws

If you are a pain management physician, it is important for you to be aware of changes in the laws governing the practice of pain management. The following laws were updated this summer, so the Florida Department of Health (DOH) will be enforcing these changes, including new penalities for inappropriate prescribing and new regulations for prescribing controlled substances.

  1. Minimum penalties for inappropriate prescribing for licensed health professionals – six (6) month suspension and $10,000 fine per count.  “Inappropriate prescribing” is in new Section 456.44, Florida Statutes.
  2. Effective January 1, 2012, every physician prescribing controlled substances must designate himself or herself as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner on the physician’s profile maintained by the Florida Department of Health.
  3. Effective July 1, 2011, new required elements must be documented in medical records of each pain management patient and there are new Standards of Practice for pain management physicians.
  4. Effective July 1, 2011, each physician practicing in a pain management clinic must notify the Florida Board of Medicine within 10 days after beginning or ending practice at the pain management clinic.
  5. Effective July 1, 2011, each physician practicing in a pain management clinic is personally responsible for the clinic’s compliance with all operational requirements. 
  6. Effective July 1, 2011, each pain management clinic must report to the Department of Health:
      a.  the number of new and repeat patients;
      b.  the number of patients discharged due to drug abuse;
      c.  the number of patients discharged due to diversion; and
      d.  the number of patients who live outside Florida.
  7. Effective July 1, 2011, dispensing physicians are no longer authorized to dispense Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances. 
  8. Dispensing physicians must return all Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances to the distributors or dispose of them by July 10, 2011.
  9. The Florida Department of Health will identify dispensing practitioners who purchase more than an average of 2,000 doses of Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substances per month and decide which of these practitioners poses the greatest risk to the public health. (We expect that individuals will be targeted by criminal law enforcement authorities, including the DEA, based on these reports.)
  10. Three days after the effective date, the Department of Health and Law Enforcement will enter the businesses of all dispensing practitioners identified as posing the greatest threat to public health and ‘quarantine’ the practitioner’s inventory of Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances.

If you are concerned about your pain management clinic, or if you are a pain management physician who has been subjected to raids or other investigations call us at (407) 331-6620 0r (850) 439-1001 or visit our website for more information at


18 responses to “Recent Changes to Florida’s Pain Management Laws

  1. I am a chronic pain patient (25 yrs of hidradenitis supperativa and 11 years of severe lower extremity open skin ulcers/nodular vasculitis…along with secondary infections etc stemming from the “parent” condition )…i live in south florida and am suffering because of the law changes and everything that’s been going on…i am an active member of a few organizations (especially the American Pain Foundation) and we are rallying and arming ourselves with information, our personal stories of our fight to maintain (and in some cases the fight to establish ) pain relief …etc…are there any cases you are aware of that are related? Any suggestions?

    • Hello. My name is Debbie. I’m sorry to hear that a person’s health is neglected and human rights in this, our, Country have been undermined. Pain is a dianogsis and it should be treated as such….like a heart attack etc.,We pay for a service and we have the right to choose our own doctor. Florida Law should concentrate more on getting illegal drugs off every corner than taking innocent law abiding citizens and ruling on their behalf. You make the decision who we can or cannot see for pain, then you pay for it. If it”s you or you living with the pain, maybe you would get what I mean. I don’t wish pain on anyone, nor do I want anyone to suffer. Where do we draw the line? The pain managent clinics are the ones abusing drugs and health. They make the big bucks and perform procedures illegally on as many patients as they can. More people will go to hospitals to get treated for pain….more suicides will occur….Specially doctors cost a lot more and have more rights than family doctors. Bottom line…..What are we doing? Doctors are running scared and their license to practice medicine is controlled as to what they can or not with all the years of schooling and practice good health to maintain homestasis…they earn that right. Now, we watch over them as though they were a criminal. The U.S.A gives us the right to vote, to prusuit happiness, to bare arms, to seeks health care, to attain equality……etc. I too suffer from pain, chronic. Just today I found out my doctor of 11 yrs cannot treat me for pain unless I go to him everymonth….it was every 3 months and I pay out of pocket. Pain is not the only thing I get treated for by him. I get all my prescriptions from my one doctor. He’s my family doctor. ….

  2. I’m sorry to hear about all the issues going on in Florida. Pain management can be a tricky process because a lot of people are truly suffering while others are taking advantage of the system for their own selfish needs. My grandma is in a Pain Management New Jersey facility. I know every state has its own issue when it comes to prescribing medication. I hope everything works out well for you Lena and everyone else in Florida.

  3. I would just like to remind state law makers of how many pain patients that state of Florida really has. It is more than 5,000,000. That was as of 2009. You know our states citizens have aged, and had more accidents since then. We now have more people living our state because of mild weather. So, there needs to be enough a mediciations for these available.
    Pharmacies denying these patients their pain medicine and pharmacies only excepting CASH for this is an all out tradegy, especially of you have insurance. They are not accepting our insurance, they want CASH!. This is price gouging and should not be legal!!
    Wake up law makers and enforcers, these suffering patients need thier medications! We need to stop treating these poor suffering people like addicts and help them. It’s also a real shame that primary doctors are not allowed to treat with regular pain meds. We only need doctors for pain management to prescribe the high strength medicines. The state has gone over board and to extreme with these new laws and doctors are afraid to prescribe the ampunts needed for chronic pain patients. I think we need to tweek these laws and educate all of these doctors so they can treat us. Our state representaives need to be educated also. This has now become a war against legtitimate pain patients, not war on prescription drugs.

    • Thank you for that statement. The law, government and insurance companies have gone WAY OVER THE LINE and making those of us who suffer with pain, suffer even more by jumping through all their hoops and red tape as well as scaring the crap out of our doctors because their afraid of losing their license. What are we, the suffering supposed to do to stop this insanity? How do we go about getting someone to listen?

    • Thank You! That’s the way I feel. Pain management clinics will charge patients up to $500 on their first visit. Not kidding. I paid $475 just to have the doctor tell me he can’t do anything for me… take off weight first. I cried so bad. I gained the weight from Thyroid, Pain, and Steroids…yep, I bloated up like a balloon.

  4. I am also in pain management in Florida, I don’t want to be, but I have severe back problems, I cannot find a neurosurgeon that will do surgery to try and correct the issue, they all say it’s too maor for my 45 years of age. I get drug tested every month in Pain Management, I do not do any illegal drugs, I have produced prescription records as well as bottles for every medication I have taken with my current Dr. Last month’s drug test showed traces of alcohol in my system. I rarely drink alcohol but had a couple beers the weekend before my drug test. I can’t drink more than 2 beer’s, don’t drink very often at all, go months without drinking a drop. but according to my pain management Dr. it is illegal to drink alcohol as a pain management patient. I have not heard of this until he said it. He didn’t prescribe my weak narcotic pain medication of 5mg percoset’s, gave me a non narcotic tramadol until my appointment next month and if there is anything in the sample I gave him this month I will be dropped from pain management. This is ridiculous crap. I am not addicted, I wish I didn’t have this pain, but I can’t get any Dr. to do anything about it and I have Medicare and Medicaide Insurance. This Pain Management Dr. has treated me as a drug addict since the very first visit. In protest to this treatment I am seriously thinking of not taking any medication at all, which without my thyroid medication I could die. but I am sick of this crap about medications. Yes, Florida has a problem that needs to be addressed, but not all the Pain Management patients are drug addicts abusing the medication, and Alcohol is not an illegal drug, nor is it illegal to drink it while on pain medication as far as I know or a lot of people would be in jail for that. That Dr. tried to say it was on the prescription bottles that it is illegal to consume alcohol with the pain medication, it does not state that, prescription bottles state alcohol will intensify the side effects of the pain medication, or it warns against mixing alcohol with it, NO WHERE does it state it is illegal. This situation is ridiculous, obviously the new law’s have made the Dr.’s become God’s with the state of everyones well being in the palm of their hands to do as they so wish, make those they don’t like suffer and those they do get whatever they want. The Pain Management Dr. I see also flat out told me to go to Tampa to get my pain med’s that I could get whatever I wanted, is he just retarded or what? I would prefer not to have to take anything but that isn’t the way it is. I have to use a motorized wheelchair to do my grocery shopping, deal with the elderly giving me a hard time cause they want to use them and think there is nothing wrong with my 45 year old body. I am not trying to be pain free through medication, but tolerable level so that I can lead a somewhat normal life. every had to walk around looking at the ground cause you can’t stand up straight? I do it all the time.

    • I am so sorry to hear what you are all going through in FL. I live in KS and would not have known about FL new laws but it seems to be affecting other states. I have a bad back due to an incompetent doctor. No one asks for chronic pain, who would want it?

      Today when I went to my regular pharmacy in KS I was told they were being checked because of “what was going on in FL”. I began reading forums from FL and was shocked and scared that this will reach all the states. My heart goes out to you guys. I do go to a pain clinic, but have rules to follow. They are very good at checking your health and asking how the medicines are working & I go every month, luckily insurance picks up the tab.

      Who or whatever is causing this problem needs to go after the illegal drug users. I know that alcohol can cause all kinds of problems and is highly addictive and is legal and promoted. How many teens die from alcohol poisoning? Has anyone done a study on that. My point is there are many things that in excess can kill. Too those in pain their medication is as important as insulin to a diabetic.

      I wait for the day when a person in chronic pain is not looked at like a criminal for filling a legal prescription!

    • I too have , but I had issues with the alcohol testing. I do not drink. I haven’t even had a glass of wine in at least 6 years. My first experience with the new alcohol test they said I had trace amounts in my system. I LOL’d and told them I don’t drink. I was told that if my next test showed positive that I would have to have a blood test. I wish I had demanded it right then but I was just too amazed that they actually believed I had been drinking. Since then I have been mad.. This is just another insurance cost. Where oh where are the good old days when you had one doctor and that doctor knew you and all your problems. Instead I have 6 different doctors and look forward to another. I have bronchitis like symptoms and sit here trying to figure out which dr to go to. Primary, pulmonologist or cardiac? Oh well, have to finish trying to get dressed as today is my pain management day. Need to discuss the replacement of my neurostimulator leads. Good luck everyone. And yes, I’m also a Florida resident. Can’t wait till I move from this God forsaken state.

  5. I deal with the same agony. These docs act like powerful men. I too, look for relief and turn down for being too young to receive surgery on my lower back. I don’t do illegal drugs nor drink….not saying or implying you did something wrong. You have the right to drink responsibly. Steroid injected into my back almost killed me….admitted to the hospital…somehow the steroid got in my blood…from their error….would have been dead. I will ask you to make sure you find a great neuro/spine doc when you find one to perform the procedure.

  6. I have been suffering for over 10 years. I don’t even like to take pain medication, but when I can’t function, fix myself something to eat/ daily living, go to the grocery store,etc..e, I have to take it. After treating me for over three years with SI & Facet joint inj. & pain meds my Doctor moves to another city in Florida then his partner cancels me as a patient. The Partner goes into practice with another Dr. that did a procedure years ago that messed me up worse. Up until that pt I never took pain meds, then he treats me like I’m a drug seeker. Now I’m having a difficult time getting any help as My Medicaid Insurance or the Physicians keep cancelling each other. No-one is following my care as I can’t count how many primarys’ I’ve had since 2008~This is ridiculous, I don’t know what im gonna do. If the Doctors did their job (or were allowed to) in the first place i wouldn’t even be on pain med. Now I’m taking high doses of Anecetaminaphine which is worse on the liver. I’,m disgusted with Florida Health Care! Medicaid or not!

  7. I am confused as to my rights as a chronic pain sufferer.  I have suffered with back & hip pain going on 30 years do to degenerative joint/disc disease.  I was referred to a pain clinic about three years ago.  I understand the need to regulate these pain clinics.  I have had steroid injection at least 8 times over the 30 years.  They never work.  The pain clinic stated that the injections had come a long way.  The last injection they gave me sent me to the emergency room.  I was unable to walk or stand without passing out for over a week.  This injection left me with permanent nerve damage.  It caused the nerves to band together in my back which causes nerve pain in both legs, that never goes away.  I have been told that I am not a candidate for surgery because of the multiple levels & problems.

    Finally I found what works for me.  I manage my pain with a very low dosage of opiate high dosage of tylenol.  I am able to work full-time.  I went to my primary care doctor who has worked with me over the last two years & he has retired.  The doctor who replaced him sent me for a urinalysis.  The test came back that there was no opiate in my system.  I explained to his nurse that I had been out of the pain medication a few days & I was waiting for my upcoming office visit.  His response was that I had been taking this pain medication for two year & there would be a trace in my system if I had been taking them.  After researching I learned this is not true.  Opiates are out of your system within two or three days.

    He put in my medical file that I am diverting my pain meds.  Which means he thinks I am selling them instead of taking them.  These are not the $20 on the street pills we have all read about.  I understand there is a problem in Florida.  This is in no way the truth about me.  I would not sell or share my pain meds.  I need them.  How can a doctor who saw me once make a  slanderous statement like this.  His snap evaluation of me is unfair & will cause me to seek out another pain management clinic, if they will accept me after reading my medical file from him.  I do not have a great opinion of pain clinics because of my experience and this really scares me to have to seek out a pain clinic to get relief from pain.

    What about the people who are trying to do the right thing the right way?  Why is it we are made to feel like criminals?

  8. Went threw Heart surgery 2 years ago triple bipass also they snt me home with loritabs 3 years ago had rupture knee tendent had 4 surgerys i got percs.. 8 year ago was crushed working on crane foundtion had 5 discs crushed lamb fustion they gave me talwin a made made morphine not an oximoron.was just recently was electrocuted in work was hit with 440-480 volts heart stopped boss said go back to work or get fired had major nerve damage. heart pain couldnt feel my hand took fmla that way i could still have a job have major joint pain cardio myopithy and the list go on Iam world of hurt in hosiptal the gave me injectable morphine all i wanted to do is puke they sent me home with 5/325 5mg loritab and 325 acetomenophin i ask for a dr kivorin do it your self kit funny part is they think iam fooling not. florida let people who come from other staes just to buy pain meds for a hang nail not people in REAL PAIN its not right

  9. Dear Mr. John Callahan,
    I have a horrible history too, from having CPR, unable to walk for 3 years, constant unbearable pain, a broken back, 4 major joint replacement and much more. I HAVE A PAIN PUMP THAT CHANGEDMY LIFE. Please look into getting a pump. I can walk now, and function with limitations. You don’t have to suffer terribly all the time. I will pray for you daily but don’t give up. All things are possible with God. He’s the One that gave doctors the ability to make pain pumps! God is the way.

  10. I feel bad for everybody who is going threw pain as i myself have pain problems. One of the reasons why Florida clamped down on these pain clinics is simple, all too much diversion. I have a condo and visit florida once a month. During my visit i go to my pain mgmt doctor here in Fl and get a script. Well guess what, just a week prior i got a script from my doctor back home. While i am not diverting it, just like many others, im abusing it!
    I hate to admit to that but thats what im doing. Did i mention i am in legit need of pain pills?
    Most of the people who make comments like on places like here are junkies just like me typing out how hard their life is. How do i know this? I used to write sad stories at one time also

  11. having back pain sux, i really wish i could just trade in all the dr visits , tests, expensive prescriptions, stress, anxiety, and frustration for some normality. but i cant, so i get my pain meds and try my best to live on a level of comfort others seem to naturally have , what a life. i live in south Fla where it is getting very hard to even see a dr let alone get your medication. i hate when people look at you as a drug addict for what the rest of the nation is doing everyday, take your medication so you will feel normal, what a life…

  12. Totolori,
    Alcohol is contraindicated with pain medication. The two substances are not to be mixed. It can be life threatening with some meds. Read your instructions from the pharmacy. That is why your doctor is upset. He doesn’t what you to have any complications that could really harm you. For your safety please don’t mix the two.

  13. The problem in FL. Is they have Dr s that are drug dealers.people come from allover the country for pain meds to take or sell.It is a big problem and needs to be regulated. they prescribe 5xs more than any other state

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