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Bill To Curb Prescription Drug Abuse Awaits House Action

As the legislative session nears its end-of-July close, a bill that aims to curb prescription drug abuse is awaiting action in the House after getting approval from the state Senate.

As WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov reports for our Newscast unit:

The bill would require that doctors enroll in the prescription monitoring program and use it to try and spot patients who are overfilling narcotic prescriptions or doctor shopping.

The database has been up for two years, but so far only about 4 percent of doctors check it to see how many painkillers patients are buying before writing a prescription.

The bill's Senate sponsor, John Keenan, says it would prevent prescription pills from reaching drug abusers.

"So if there is a large prescription and only a few are used and others are left around, they are capable of being diverted and used by other people," he said.

The Massachusetts Medical Society supports parts of the bill, but they are opposed to it being a requirement with no exceptions.

This program aired on July 25, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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