Billed as an effort to combat the opioid crisis, a new Florida law requires physicians and other healthcare practitioners to endorse pseudoscience and give patients misleading information about non-opioid alternatives.
The Department of Health (DOH) was directed to create a pamphlet on its website “regarding the nonopioid alternatives for the treatment of pain”, including, at a minimum, information on available non-opioid treatments and the advantages and disadvantages of using them. The physician must provide patients with this pamphlet before prescribing/ordering/administering opioids.
It lists cold and heat, exercise, OTC meds, physical and occupational therapy, and behavioral interventions, among others, as treatment options. Unfortunately, the pamphlet’s recommendations also includes chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy.
I’ll leave to others a discussion of whether physicians and other prescribers need to be second-guessed by legislators in their attempt at what one critic has described as “opiophobia”. My particular problem with the new law is that, by mandating the distribution of this pamphlet, healthcare providers are forced to essentially endorse treatments with, at best, questionable evidence of safety and effectiveness. At worst, they are forced to endorse pseudoscience administered by Florida-licensed healthcare providers whose practices will subject patients to quack remedies.
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