Task force studying RI drug registry to be briefed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's state health director will brief a task force studying whether to create a prescription drug monitoring program to help prevent abuse of the medications.

Dr. Michael Fine is scheduled to testify at the Statehouse on Tuesday afternoon.

The special commission is exploring whether to create a registry that would track the prescription of controlled substances so health professionals could see how often a patient has gotten them.

Federal statistics show that nearly 15,000 people die annually from overdoses of prescription painkillers. In 2010, 1 in 20 people over age 11 reported using prescribed painkillers for non-medical reasons.

The task force, led by state Rep. William O'Brien, is expected to report its findings back to the General Assembly by April 1.

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