Pa. Approves Prescription Drug Monitoring

Monday, Oct 21, 2013  |  Updated 7:41 PM EDT
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Pa. Approves Prescription Drug Monitoring

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 A bill to create a confidential statewide database for monitoring the use and abuse of prescription drugs in Pennsylvania won overwhelming approval Monday in the state House of Representatives.

The bill, approved by a vote of 191-7, would require drug dispensers to provide detailed information about prescriptions of controlled substances ranging from oxycodone and amphetamines to cough medicine containing codeine.

The information would include the names of the prescribing physician and patient, the name of the pharmacist or other dispenser, the drug dosage and the source of payment.

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The database would help identify addicts who need treatment and aid law-enforcement agencies trying to stop the illegal diversion of the drugs, said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Matthew Baker.

Baker, a Republican from Bradford, said he expects the Senate will make changes, particularly in what many lawmakers regard as excessive restrictions on police access to the data.

The database would be administered by the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

This month, the Washington-based Trust for America's Health said Pennsylvania ranked 14th in the number of drug-overdose deaths, mostly from prescription drug abuse. The state had 15.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in 2010, the group said.

NBC10 also reported earlier this month on an "unreal" opioid overdose spike in Bensalem.

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