Assemblyman John Ceretto voted Monday in favor of the Internet system for tracking overprescribing, or I-STOP, legislation that would require doctors to file prescriptions for medications into an online database. Pharmacists would then access the database to confirm requests for medication that might be addictive or dangerous if abused.
The initiative comes in response to several instances in which young people have been hospitalized or killed due to prescription-drug abuse. Right now, it is possible for a person to go to more than one doctor and get multiple prescriptions for the same drug, a phenomenon known as "doctor-shopping." The extra medications can then be sold or abused.
"As a parent, I worry when I hear about someone selling prescriptions to children," Ceretto said. "When a prescription-drug abuser is able to get his hands on excess medication and put children at risk by selling it, we need to respond. This bill makes it easier for doctors and pharmacists to spot prescription drug abusers and keep our children safe."
The current method for writing prescriptions makes it very easy for individuals to acquire multiple prescriptions. I-STOP would create an "e-prescription" database for most controlled substances so that doctors and pharmacists can be sure patients are not abusing a prescription.
"Our children's safety is one of my top priorities," Ceretto said. "I hope this bill will help promote safety and prevent abuse."
During his time in the Niagara County Legislature, Ceretto hosted several prescription drug pickups to ensure the proper disposal of these medications to keep them out of the water supply and the wrong hands. Ceretto noted that Niagara County was one of the first local governments in the nation to host this type of program, which is now being incorporated statewide under the ISTOP program.