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Senate votes to keep opioid addicts from 'doctor shopping'

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The bill would require doctors to check a statewide database to ensure patients being prescribed opioid painkillers were not "doctor shopping" to get more drugs.

Doctors would be required to check an electronic monitoring database before prescribing painkillers and other drugs under legislation aimed at preventing opioid addicts from "doctor shopping."

Senate Bills 166 and 167 won approval Thursday in the Michigan Senate and were sent to the House for consideration.

Michigan's per capita rate of opiod painkiller prescriptions is the 10th highest in the U.S. 

Lawmakers want to limit addicts' ability to visit multiple doctor's offices or emergency rooms in a week to get opioid prescriptions. The requirement for health providers to use the recently upgraded Michigan Automated Prescription System would take effect in 2020.

In a statement, bill sponsor Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) said, “We have doctors and pharmacies who are willing to prescribe and fill medications for patients with no medical need and patients actively seeking out these types of doctors to illegally obtain prescription medicine. Michigan currently has a system that tracks prescriptions, but many physicians don’t use it properly, or even at all.”

The bills passed Thursday would also limit the amount of opioid medication that can be prescribed and require there be a "bona fide" prescriber-patient relationship before drugs are dispensed.

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