- Associated Press - Monday, August 7, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed five bills into law aimed at combating Rhode Island’s opioid epidemic.

The Democrat ceremoniously signed the bills at a substance use treatment program in Providence Monday.

Two bills deal with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. They amend the list of uniform controlled substances to include fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, and bring penalties for possessing, manufacturing or selling fentanyl in line with those for heroin and cocaine.

Lawmakers say the changes were needed because of a spike in fentanyl-related deaths.

Another bill makes transmitting prescriptions electronically the standard in Rhode Island, to reduce pharmacy errors and fraudulent prescriptions.

The final bills require insurance reimbursement for non-opioid treatments for pain and require health care professionals to discuss the dangers of opioid addiction before prescribing the medication.

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