RICHMOND, Va. — State data show fewer people are shopping for doctors in Virginia to illegitimately obtain prescription drugs.

The Virginia Department of Health Professions released the latest data collected by its Prescription Monitoring Program on Monday. The data was collected between 2012 and 2013.

The department says the number of patients identified as doctor shopping has declined by 73 percent. These patients sought simultaneous care from numerous physicians through multiple pharmacies to obtain drugs. The drugs are often associated with pain management.

The data also show that registered prescribers’ use of the monitoring system is increasing.

Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel says in a news release that the monitoring program has helped raise awareness about pain medication abuse.

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