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FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows pills of the painkiller hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia in just six years, a period when 1,728 people fatally overdosed on these two painkillers, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Police could get access to painkiller prescription data

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RALEIGH, N.C — A proposal in North Carolina's legislature would let law officers access a statewide database recording who is prescribing controlled drugs from morphine to codeine.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the move is part of the General Assembly's efforts to grapple with the opioid epidemic. State officials say more than 13,000 North Carolinians have died from opioid-related overdoses since 1999.

The database exists to see if a patient is getting controlled substances from multiple doctors. The information is purged every six years, limiting how far back law enforcement would be able to look.

The North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union said such a law would be the first of its kind in the nation to allow law enforcement officers quick access to the system.

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