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"I want to remove that fear by people afflicted by addiction," he said. "I ask law enforcement to work with us." Another bill requires doctors to consult a statewide database of patients' medical histories before writing prescriptions for OxyContin, Percocet and other opioids beyond a five-day supply. Mandating use of the database — voluntary since 2008 — was first recommended in 2013 by Inspector General Patrick Maley, whose report described high-prescribers as either motivated by money or naively helping "doctor shoppers." But prescribers balked at the idea then, calling it a time-consuming hassle. A law passed in June 2014 required pharmacists to report daily on the controlled substances they sell, to ensure the database is regularly updated. But a clause specified that doctors and pharmacists don't have to actually consult it before prescribing or dispensing medicine. Agency directives that took effect last April increased usage. They required any doctor who is billing either Medicaid or the state health plan to use the database. The percentage of prescribers registered to use it has since risen to 42 percent, according to DHEC. But the bill's sponsors say far too many prescribers still aren't consulting it, and it's time for a statewide mandate. Another bill would make it easier for people to return excess pills. It's designed to get unused drugs out of medicine cabinets and beyond the easy reach of those who shouldn't be taking them, said Rep. Phyllis Henderson, R-Greenville. The other bills include requirements that DHEC to create counterfeit-resistant prescription blanks for doctors to use and issue report cards on doctors based on their use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. "The opioid epidemic in South Carolina is real and until we get it under control, it will only get worse," said Rep. Chip Huggins, R-Columbia.