Bill letting police use pill database heads to Raimondo

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A bill to allow law enforcement access to an electronic database of prescription painkillers is now awaiting approval from Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The proposal would give criminal investigators from state and local agencies access to a database used by health professionals to track prescribing patterns for various opioids, including Vicodin and OxyContin, stimulants and sedatives. Several other states have similar laws.

The attorney general’s office pushed for the bill, saying it would allow law enforcement to investigate “pill mills and drug diversion.”

But medical groups lobbied against the bill, saying it compromises patient confidentiality and that the database should be a tool for health care, not law enforcement.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says drug diversion is contributing to the opioid crisis, and the legislation will save lives.