Senate approves bill on drug monitoring program

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Senate has approved a bill that requires practitioners to register with Rhode Island's prescription drug monitoring program.

The drug database is designed to help prevent drug diversion and misuse. State health department officials said in December that only 20 percent of those allowed to prescribe controlled substances in the state have been using it.

The Senate on Tuesday passed several other bills aimed at addressing the recent spike in overdose deaths. One requires that insurers cover methadone and other medications used to treat substance abuse. Another creates a process for follow-up care for patients with addiction issues after they're discharged from emergency rooms or other health care facilities.

The legislation now goes to the House.

At least 90 people have died of accidental overdoses in the state this year.

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