Controlled Substances Course Requirement

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General Information

According to a 2017 report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), opioids were identified as either the cause of death or were present in the decedent’s system in 5,725 cases in 2016, an increase of 26% over the previous year.

During the 2018 Florida Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature passed opioid reform legislation that will have a significant impact on the practice of medicine in regards to controlled substance prescribing. HB 21 - Controlled Substances went into effect on July 1, 2018.

The legislation has several requirements as described below:

  1. A prescriber must consult the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) [E-FORCSE, Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program] to review a patient’s controlled substance dispensing history before prescribing a controlled substance for a patient aged 16 or older.
  2. A prescription for an opioid drug may not exceed a 3-day supply (7 days if the provider feels it is medically necessary). If a 7-day supply is prescribed, the provider must indicate “ACUTE PAIN EXCEPTION” on the prescription and adequately document the patient’s medical records with the acute medical condition and lack of alternative treatment options. For the treatment of non-acute pain, the prescriber must indicate “NONACUTE PAIN” on a prescription for an opioid drug.
  3. Any practitioner registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and authorized to prescribe controlled substances is required to complete a 2-hour, board-approved course on prescribing controlled substances by January 31, 2019 and for each subsequent license renewal thereafter.*

*Legislation Update: HB17, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, authorizes the Florida Board of Podiatric Medicine to require ALL Florida licensed podiatric physicians (not just those registered with the DEA) to complete an approved 2-hour continuing education course on safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances. The 2-hour course is included within the 36 total general hours required.

To access the FPMA online Prescribing Controlled Substances course, click HERE.


FPMA advises members to avoid attending continuing education courses on prescribing controlled substances that are not offered by a statewide professional association of physicians accredited to provide educational activities and are not approved by the Florida Board of Podiatric Medicine.


Published DEA Guidance