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Cracking Down on Prescription Drug Abuse

The Assembly, Senate, governor and attorney general have reached an agreement on historic, comprehensive legislation to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

The Assembly, Senate, governor and attorney general have reached an agreement on historic, comprehensive legislation to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

Known as "I-STOP," the measure takes a giant step in combating "doctor shopping" and curbing prescription drug abuse.

It’s often very easy for a person to get the same prescription from different doctors filled at different pharmacies, without the doctors or pharmacists knowing.

This new law would include provisions to overhaul the way prescription drugs are distributed and tracked in New York State. One important element of the proposal is a real-time database for prescription-drug monitoring which would allow doctors and pharmacists to know exactly which drugs have already been prescribed and dispensed to patients.

Illicit use of prescription medicine has become one of the nation’s fast-growing dug problems. According to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses due to prescription painkillers.  In 2012, 1 in 20 people in the United States over the age of 11 reported using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons in the past year. Moreover, an estimated 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers obtained them from friends or relatives who originally received the medication from a prescription.

I-STOP will help keep our families safer and healthier. I look forward to supporting this legislation when it reaches the Assembly floor.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

highhatsize June 12, 2012 at 03:46 PM
ANOTHER story about prescription drug abuse. The obsessional focus on illicit use causes millions of Americans to suffer needlessly because doctors are too afraid to dispense meds that could endanger their license to practice. It is not uncommon for a primary care physician to announce at the beginning of an office visit with a new patient that the doesn't write prescriptions for "pain pills". Patients in pain must first find a doctor who believes that medical ethics compel him to manage a patient's pain and then must strike the right note in asking for help so that the doctor doesn't suspect him of exhibiting "drug seeking behavior". Rather then suffer the humiliation of being suspected of being a "drug abuser", most patients simply choose to suffer. Addiction is a terrible thing but there is a better way to combat it than by layering on more and more laws that debase medical practice and cause unnecessary suffering to innocent Americans. This proposed law just takes us further down the wrong path. Treatment works, criminalization doesn't. It is past time for Assemblyman Thiele and other legislators to be pragmatic, jettison the baggage of failed attempts, stand up to the enforcement and incarceration lobby, and initiate a program that actually has a record or WORKING (e.g. Portugal.)

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