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Schneiderman applauds success of New York's program to prevent prescription drug abuse

by jmaloni

Submitted

Mon, Feb 3rd 2014 04:05 pm

New data shows system A.G. created has significantly expanded prescription drug checks

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today applauded the release of new data highlighting the successful implementation of the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP). Introduced in June 2011 by Schneiderman and unanimously passed by the Legislature in 2012, the I-STOP Act is a national model for other states and Congress to follow to curb prescription drug abuse, the nation's fastest-growing drug problem. 

I-STOP set up a real-time database that tracks every prescription for opioid pills that gets filled in New York state. As of August, doctors are required under the law to consult that database before writing any prescriptions for a schedule II, III or IV controlled substance, including narcotic painkillers.

According to data released today, more than 66,000 health care professionals across the state have run more than 7 million individual prescription checks on nearly 3 million separate patients since then.

"Ending the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that plagues too many New York communities has been a top priority of mine since my first day in office, which is why I proposed and helped pass the law that created New York's historic I-STOP program," Schneiderman said. "I applaud Gov. Cuomo for successfully implementing the program we created, and will continue to work with his administration to crack down on doctors who break the law, helping to prevent even more New Yorkers from falling victims to dangerous addictions and hurting our communities. Today's news is a powerful reminder of the important steps we can take to protect New York families when we work together to develop innovative solutions to key challenges."

By requiring pharmacists to report in real-time each prescription they fill for a schedule II, III, IV or V drug and consult the database before filling any prescriptions, I-STOP has helped provide prescribers with as much information as possible as quickly as possible to avoid dangerous drug interactions and to detect drug dealers who use pharmacies as suppliers. Recently, two abused drugs - hydrocodone and tramadol - were rescheduled. Hydrocodone became a schedule II drug, thereby ending the automatic refills that evaded medical review and served to feed addictions and support street sales. Tramadol, previously unscheduled, became a schedule IV drug. 

I-STOP also established safe disposal programs, providing a place for New Yorkers to get rid of expired and unneeded drugs to ensure they are not left in medicine cabinets for children or addicts to access.

I-STOP is designed to deter fraud against private health insurers and the state government. The A.G. said taxpayers have been paying for a substantial portion of the overprescribed pills through the Medicaid program - hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

In March 2015, I-STOP will make New York one of the first states to schedule the universal mandate of e-prescribing for all drugs. The A.G.'s camp said this system will nearly eliminate the problem of forged, traded or stolen prescriptions - used both by addicts and criminal organizations to obtain a wide variety of pills to resell on the street and on the black market. These crimes also cost the taxpayers millions.

For more information on New York's I-STOP program, click here.

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