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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Three bills aimed at lowering the abuse of prescription drugs are now in effect. Governor Robert Bentley held a ceremonial signing on Monday. He said the bills are meant to address the growing problem while also protecting the rights of patients.
Dr. Tim Howard has a medical practice in Huntsville. He said Bentley's signature on these bills is a great move.
"It will help people realize that there are consequences for them not following the law," he said.
House Bill 150 is about prescription drug monitoring. Physicians can designate members of their staff to access their database on their behalf.
House Bill 151 deals with pain management. It increases the regulation of pain management clinics where drugs are prescribed for chronic pain.
House bill 152 is the doctor shopping bill. It creates penalties for patients who go from doctor to doctor to fill prescriptions.
"With these new bills you now have some teeth behind the law to now say okay, these are certain areas whether it be drug diversion, whether it be pain clinics or whether it be doctor shopping, you have some specific areas that the Governor who's a physician, which really helps us in the medical community have seen that we need this so we can paint in on the law rather than try to monitor it ourselves," Howard said.
Howard said Bentley's background as a dermatologist helps doctors throughout the state.
"I think we have a great advocate in our Governor to be able to help us as physicians as we work through all the issues we would have with folks using prescription drugs in the wrong way."
House Bill 150 and 152 went into effect on August 1st. House Bill 151 has been in effect since May.