Sen. Griffo calls for stronger monitoring of prescription drugs to reduce pain killer abuse
Monday, September 2, 2013 - 6:27 pm

The way prescription drugs are distributed and monitored in New York would change under a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome.

Griffo who represents Massena, Potsdam, Norfolk and other St. Lawrence County towns, said the law, which will take effect immediately, is a response to the increase of prescription drug and pain killer abuse.

Under the new law, known as “I-Stop,” real-time prescription tracking information will be used to identify and prevent the abuse of prescription drugs.

“The outcry from this problem featured many voices speaking in unison over how serious a health and safety issue that prescription drug-abuse has become,” said Griffo. “Healthcare advocates, law enforcement, educators, policy makers and families of victims had come to grips with substance abuse that has its beginnings with a simple sheet of paper – a prescription script.”

The provisions of the new law include the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or “I-Stop,” which includes the following:

• Creation of a modernized and improved “real time” Prescription Monitoring Program that practitioners and pharmacists can securely and easily access, allowing them to view their patients' controlled substance histories;

• Requirements for e-prescribing, making New York a national leader by being one of the first states to move from paper prescriptions to a system mandating electronic prescribing;

• Updates to controlled substance schedules to align New York’s Controlled Substances Act with federal law and changes to the schedules for hydrocodone compounds and tramadol to reduce abuse;

• Enhancements to the Prescription Pain Medication Awareness Program to educate the public and health care practitioners about the risks associated with prescribing and taking controlled substance pain medications; and

• Establishment of a Safe Disposal Program to increase the options available to safely dispose of unused controlled substances and prevent people who abuse prescription painkillers from obtaining them from friends or relatives.

Nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses due to prescription painkillers, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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