Attorney General Comes to Staten Island to Tout Prescription Drug Abuse Law
STATEN ISLAND — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the new law to attempt to curb prescription drug abuse a nationwide model at a press conference today.
Schneiderman spoke at the Beacon Christian Community Health Center, Mariners Harbor, to praise the recently passed I-STOP law, which will create an online database for doctor and pharmacists to check a patients prescription history and attempt to curb prescription drug abuse.
"With a few keystrokes a doctor can check and consult the records and see what other prescriptions a patient has," Schneiderman said.
I-STOP, also called the Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing Act, passed in the Assembly and Senate last week, the Times Union reported.
The real-time database will attempt to stop patients from "doctor shopping," visiting multiple doctors and obtaining several prescriptions for the same type of drug, and will also mandate e-prescribing to avoid forged prescriptions.
Schneiderman said that he hope the law will serve as a model for other states to adopt and help fight prescription drug abuse.
"This is only the first step," he said. "We will have under this legislation a national model."
The legislation was spearheaded by Assemblyman Michael Cusick and state Sen. Andrew Lanza.
"I truly believe that this is the most important legislation that we've seen passed in decades here in New York," Lanza said. "That's because this problem, this scourge, this epidemic is so severe. Its ripped apart families from Staten Island to Buffalo."
Schneiderman said that the core of the coalition in pushing this bill came from Staten Island because the borough has been hit so hard by prescription drug abuse.
Fatalities linked to prescription drug abuse shot up 147 percent in Staten Island from 2005 to 2009, nearly double the rate in the rest of the city, according to the attorney general. Staten Island also has four of the five neighborhoods in the city with highest per capita rates of prescriptions filed for narcotic painkillers.
The borough also has more pharmacy robberies than bank robberies, Schneiderman said.
"As a pharmacist it's definitely going to make my workplace safer," said Robert Annicharico, owner of Delco Drugs in Eltingville. "We're really happy that this bill got passed."
When rolled out, the law will make New York the first state to mandate physicians consult a database of patient's prescription history before prescribing certain controlled substances. The law will also require pharmacists to report when those prescriptions are filled.
The database will be operational sometime in 2013 and e-prescribing will be mandated to start in December 2014, Schneiderman said.