Five New England states plan to share prescription data as part of their efforts to prevent drug overdoses and heroin addiction.
The states--Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island--plan to develop a registry to prevent "doctor shopping" to gain multiple prescriptions for opioid drugs, Reuters reports.
They also plan an education campaign to share treatment resources for addicts and to develop guidelines to limit the number of pills prescribed at one time.
In announcing the plan, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick noted that addiction to painkillers can be a route to heroin use--one that doesn't respect state boundaries.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday signed a bill allowing anyone--not just a licensed healthcare professional--to administer the opioid-antidote drug naloxone to a person believed to be overdosing.
Most states have some form of prescription-monitoring database, though they vary in participation and effectiveness.
Tennessee, one of the few states to make its prescription drug-monitoring program mandatory, credits its database and education efforts with cutting doctor shopping in half.
What's more, a New York state law creating a similar database has been touted as reducing doctor-shopping for painkillers by 75 percent. The law requires that providers e-prescribe all drugs by March 2015.
The American College of Physicians has called for the creation of a federal database to monitor use not only of painkillers, but also medications to treat sleep disorders, nerve conditions, weight loss and other conditions.
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