- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

PHHOENIX (AP) - The House has given preliminary approval to a measure that would expand the state’s voluntary program monitoring prescription painkillers.

Republican Sen. John Kavanagh is sponsoring a proposal backed by the governor’s office that would require doctors to check the state’s database before prescribing drugs that contain opioids or benzodiazepine in most circumstances.

Kavanagh says it’s designed to stop drug abusers from gaming the system and would help reduce overdose deaths.

The latest version of the bill requires the statewide Health Information Exchange to incorporate the prescription monitoring database so that doctors can more easily access the information.

The Senate unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 1283 earlier this month. It still awaits a formal vote in the House. The program would begin next October if the bill passes.

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