A new law that gives the P.E.I. government more power to monitor prescriptions written for narcotics is welcomed by the Dental Association of P.E.I.

The Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act gives government expanded scope to monitor health professionals and report suspected over-prescribing of opioids and other drugs.

Dr. Brian Barrett, executive director of the Dental Association, said if some doctors or dentists are deliberately over-prescribing, that information should be acted upon. But he also pointed out the information could be used as a professional development tool.

"Over the years sometimes prescribing practices will change," said Barrett.

"It would be good to know if through some kind of an educational process you could let somebody know that, 'You know, you seem to be prescribing a lot of those things. Is there anything that you could consider using that might be less addictive and just as effective?'"

Barrett said the Dental Association has run its own workshops in the past to share proper prescribing practices and try to prevent the overuse of narcotics.

The P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons said the new law will allow it to be more proactive in trying to stop prescription drug abuse and protect patient safety.