New law allows nurse practitioners to prescribe narcotics

The Florida Nurse Practitioner Network hailed the governor signing into law new legislation that allows their members to prescribe painkillers to patients.

This is landmark legislation,” said Janet DuBois, president of the network. “This legislation ensures that nurse practitioners can prescribe a variety of controlled substances and pain-relieving drugs to alleviate severe pain for patients, especially patients in emergency or palliative care situations.

View of seven hydrocodone pills Wednesday Nov 20, 2013 in West Palm Beach. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post)
Under a new state law, nurse practitioners can now prescribe painkillers to patients. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post)

The bill expands the categories of health providers who may prescribe controlled substances for various illnesses, including cough relief, anxiety, neurological conditions and general pain, to include advanced registered nurse practitioners.

“We are proud that our legislative efforts were instrumental in the passage of this bill,” DuBois said.

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has acquired the expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills, and clinical competencies necessary for expanded practice. Nurse practitioners are required to have national certification and must hold a master’s of science degree in nursing.

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