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Va. House OKs Narcotics Database

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    Va. House OKs Narcotics Database

    Va. House OKs Narcotics Database

    .c The Associated Press

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The House of Delegates passed legislation Thursday that would create a database to track narcotics prescriptions in southwest Virginia, a region struck hard by abuse of the painkiller OxyContin.

    The Senate passed a broader bill Feb. 11 that sought to track an array of narcotics statewide. The House legislation would collect data only in part of the state and only for the class of highly addictive drugs that includes OxyContin.

    Opponents argued a monitoring program would invade the privacy of patients who legally use the drug, a slow-release narcotic prescribed to cancer patients or others who suffer severe, chronic pain. Abusers usually crush the pill, then snort or inject it for a quick, heroin-like high.

    The bill aims to help authorities track people suspected of faking ailments to obtain the painkiller from different doctors. It would require pharmacists who dispense OxyContin or other narcotics in its class to put in the database detailed information about the patient. Police could access the information.

    The House bill would start the database as a two-year pilot program operated by the state Department of Health Professions. The Legislature then could decide to expand it statewide.

    The bill now returns to the Senate to consider the House revisions.

    On the Net:

    Track legislation:

    AP-NY-03-07-02 1856EST