THE DOWNWARD spiral of too many Massachusetts overdose victims started with a prescription painkiller. Narcotics like morphine, Vicodin, and OxyContin play an important role in treating pain. But with such great risk for addiction and abuse, they also need to be carefully regulated — which is why Beacon Hill should put aside objections from some doctors and embrace legislation to step up drug monitoring in the Commonwealth.
A bill moving through the Legislature would require all doctors who prescribe painkillers to check a statewide database that tracks narcotic prescriptions before writing a new one. The database is meant to identify “doctor shopping’’ by patients trying to obtain extra pills to feed their addiction.