PROVIDENCE, R.I. — House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has introduced a bill to try to combat opioid overdoses and deaths.

The Democrat is proposing legislation to give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers.

Mattiello says this would empower patients to limit the number of unused pills left in their medicine chests, so extra pills aren’t taken by a friend, relative or the patients themselves.

It’s the first bill Mattiello has introduced this legislative session. He plans to author a second opioids bill because of the importance of the issue.

There were 336 drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island in 2016.

The bill was referred to a House committee.

Subsequent fills would have to be dispensed at the same pharmacy and the total quantity dispensed couldn’t exceed the quantity prescribed.