Possession of seven hydrocodone painkillers without a valid prescription would no longer send people to state prison for mandatory three-year sentences under a bill given final approval Friday by state representatives.
The measure seeks to differentiate between drug addicts and traffickers and would send non-violent, first-time offenders caught with small amounts of the highly addicitve painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone to drug court and treatment rather than prison.
Senators unanimously passed the same legislation March 26.
The bills (HB 99/SB 360), sponsored by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, and Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, now go to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.
Under the proposed law, it would take three times as many hydrocodone pills — 22 rather than seven — to trigger a three-year sentence. And what used to lead to a 25-year sentence would result in seven years.
The threshold for the more potent and smaller-sized oxycodone, which generally isn't combined with acetominophen, would be slightly steeper.
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