- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan’s database tracking prescriptions of powerful painkillers may be on track for an overhaul amid a national addiction epidemic after the House approved a bill Thursday to spend about $2.5 million to revamp the system.

Republican state Rep. Anthony Forlini, the bill sponsor, said the current prescription tracking system leaves doctors without up-to-date information, which can lead to prescriptions for people who might not need them. He said the current system isn’t updated in real time, but the new web-based system would be.

The decision was among a host of recommendations from a task force that worked on responses to opioid addiction and comes at a time when state figures show the number of opioid-related deaths has tripled since 1999.

The bill also could make it easier for family members to get overdose rescue drugs by allowing pharmacists to prescribe anti-overdose drugs to family members and friends. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“I don’t think most people realize what is going on,” Forlini said. “In every one of our communities, in every one of our families, in every one of our neighborhoods … it is an epidemic that goes beyond anything we’ve seen, and yet it’s been so quiet. It hasn’t been addressed to the extent it needs to be.”

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