Prescription drug abuse probably is as old as prescription drugs, but it's pretty clear that its growing lethality in the region calls for new efforts to fight it.

Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman said recently the main drug concern in the county is with prescription abuse, with the prescription medications Oxycodone and Fentanyl being the most prevalent.

Occasionally a doctor is accused of writing prescriptions for addicts, but the bigger problem is "doctor shopping" - addicts seeking prescriptions from a new physician after being rejected, or hopping from pharmacy to pharmacy.

The state maintains a prescription database but only the attorney general's office may access it.

That data should be made available so doctors and pharmacists can track the prescription histories of new patients. Such data would be treated with the same confidentiality covering other medical information. And, like other readily available medical information, it could play a big role in saving lives.

Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, a Bucks County Republican who heads the House Human Resources Committee, has introduced a bill to make the database available to prescribing and dispensing professionals. The Legislature should pass it.