- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The General Assembly has approved legislation that requires practitioners to register with Rhode Island’s prescription drug monitoring program.

The drug database is designed to help prevent the diversion and misuse of prescription medications. State health department officials have said previously it’s being underutilized in Rhode Island.

The lead Senate sponsor, Christopher Ottiano, says the bill will help health professionals identify patients at risk of abusing prescription drugs and prevent the practice of “doctor shopping” for medications.

Registering with the drug monitoring program would be a condition of the initial approval, or renewal, of a practitioner’s authority to prescribe controlled substances.

The legislation also allows practitioners to designate other individuals to access the database on their behalf.

The bills have gone to Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

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