MA: New drug law will track more prescriptions

Sarah Favot and Caroline Hailey report on prescription monitoring in Massachusetts:

Massachusetts residents face a new routine when they pick up certain prescription drugs at the pharmacy on Jan. 1.

Under a law passed last summer, they will have to show a driver’s license or another approved ID before the druggist can give them prescriptions ranging from addictive opiates to certain medicines for diarrhea. Their purchases will be recorded in a massive database that will include their names, addresses and the kinds and amount of pills they take.

The goal of the law is to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens and young adults. According to one federal survey, Massachusetts ranked 8th among those 18-to-25 who have used drugs not prescribed to them.

The law is similar to legislation passed in 33 states and being initiated in another 10 states. Studies suggest the programs can help combat prescription drug abuse, but the law has other consequences that play against the national debate about the size and reach of government.

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