The Vermont state Senate late last week gave final OK to a bill that would create a drug database to help prevent the illegal use of prescription drugs. The electronic database would hold information about prescriptions written or filled. The database is designed to crack down on the illegal use or sale of medicines, such as painkillers OxyContin and Percocet, which has become a problem in Vermont, officials said.
The bill now goes to the House where it is expected to be reviewed by the Judiciary and Health Care committees. A $350,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department will pay for the database. ''A surprising number of heroin addicts first became addicted to prescription drugs,'' said Sen. James Leddy, D-Chittenden, a member of the Judiciary Committee that drafted the bill. The state is seeing ''a tremendous impact from the abuse of legally prescribed medicines.''