NORWALK - The state Department of Consumer Protection has asked doctors in southwestern Connecticut to participate in a program to prevent abuse of prescribed medications.

The Prescription Monitoring Program, which started nine months ago, enables physicians to see if patients have already been prescribed narcotic drugs by other doctors. The program was designed to prevent people from seeking prescription drugs from many doctors.

Each doctor is given an access code that allows them into the system to check prescription history of their patients. The substance, dosage, date of prescription and physician are all kept on file. The Web site is also equipped with an alert system, which doctors can use if they sense substance abuse.

So far, only 1,060 doctors, pharmacists and other prescribers have signed up for the program, out of an eligible 20,000 across Connecticut.