AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is opposing legislation to remove veterinarians from Maine’s prescription monitoring program.

Republican Sen. Jim Hamper’s bill could receive a committee vote Tuesday.

The bill would no longer require veterinarians to look up the prescription history of the person who brings in a pet before prescribing an opioid or a benzodiazepine for the animal.

Department of Health and Human Services Chief Health Officer Christopher Pezzullo said the bill would make it harder to reduce the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. In 2016, 378 Mainers died from drug overdoses.

But Amanda Bisol of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association called for increased education for veterinarians who prescribe low doses of opioids and who aren’t experts in human medication. Veterinarian Andrine Belliveau said she has privacy concerns.

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