- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - More than six and a half million searches have been conducted by health care providers in the year since Massachusetts launched a new tool aimed at reducing the risk of prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths.

The tool allows Massachusetts to share patient prescription data with 31 states and the District of Columbia, including Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine.

A 2016 state law requires those prescribing opioids to check the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool before writing any new opioid prescriptions.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says the new tool is one of a series of steps the state has taken that has helped reduce opioid prescriptions by 28 percent over the last three years.

More than 2,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts last year.

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