Governor Rick Scott signed HB 477 which combats synthetic opioid drug abuse by enhancing penalties for the abuse of fentanyl and its derivatives. In May, Governor Scott signed Executive Order 17-146 directing a Public Health Emergency in Florida which allowed the state to immediately draw down more than $27 million in federal grant funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Opioid State Targeted Response Grant.
Governor Scott said, “I’m proud to sign this important piece of legislation today to help fight this national epidemic which has taken the lives of too many Floridians. This legislation provides tools for law enforcement and first responders to save lives. We are committed to helping our communities fight opioid abuse and that’s why I declared a Public Health Emergency to ensure that our first responders have immediate access to lifesaving drugs to respond to overdoses. I’d like to thank Attorney General Pam Bondi, Senator Greg Steube and Representative Jim Boyd for their hard work on this legislation and dedication to the health and safety of our families. I look forward to visiting communities across the state to discuss how we can continue to combat this issue.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “This legislation was my top priority this session—because it gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools we need to combat the trafficking of fentanyl and save lives. I want to thank Governor Rick Scott, Representative Jim Boyd, Senator Greg Steube and each member of the Florida legislature that supported this life-saving legislation.”
Senator Greg Steube said, “I’d like to thank Governor Scott for signing HB 477 into law to address this growing problem in Florida. I’d also like to thank everyone in the House and Senate for their input and efforts to pass this bill. For too many years, the opioid epidemic has devastated families across the state and this legislation is a major step in our battle against this deadly epidemic.”
Representative Jim Boyd said, “I was proud to sponsor this bill to combat the death and destruction that fentanyl abuse has on communities throughout the state, and I’m grateful to Governor Scott for signing it into law today. With this legislation and the declaration of a Public Health Emergency, we are taking great strides in our fight to end opioid abuse. I will continue to work with the Governor, the Legislature and state and local partners to address this issue and save the lives of Floridians.”
Florida Police Chiefs Association President and Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal said, “On behalf of Florida’s police chiefs and police departments, I want to thank the Governor and the Attorney General for their leadership on this issue. This truly is an epidemic, and our state needs every tool available to combat it. This new law should send a very clear message to drug traffickers that Florida is not the place for them.”