Lawmakers crackdown on pain killer abuse

The Alabama Legislature has passed a three-bill package aimed at combating the abuse of prescriptions for painkillers. The bills won approval in the Senate after passing the House earlier in the session. They now go to the governor's desk. Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster said the Legislature needed to act because studies have shown that one in five Americans have abused prescription drugs.

One bill enhances the tracking of prescriptions for painkillers. Another gives new authority to the state Board of Medical Examiners to crack down on abuse. The third allows law enforcement to prosecute patients who visit several doctors to deceptively obtain multiple prescriptions for the same painkillers.