All eyes are on New York as I-STOP — the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing — attempts to help pharmacists determine if a person has been "doctor shopping" for extra narcotics. The real-time, central database of prescriptions is part of a new New York state law designed to curb a problem that kills one American every 19 minutes. Even if you don’t live in New York, this legislation affects you because it is seen as a model for the country.
Under the new legislation, doctors and pharmacists will be required to monitor a patient's prescription history before supplying popular painkillers containing oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan.
To help illustrate the problem, consider that Staten Island, which has become New York's oxycodone distribution capital, now has more pharmacy robberies than bank holdups. Sales of oxy in that New York borough rose by 1,200 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) figures. Meanwhile, fatalities on Staten Island linked to accidental overdoses of prescription drugs increased by 147 percent between 2005 and 2009.
"I truly believe that this is the most important legislation that we have seen passed in decades," state Sen. Andrew Lanza said. "And that's because this problem, this scourge, this epidemic, is so severe that it's ripped apart families across the nation," The Associated Press reported.
Enacting this legislation in New York is a start, but until it exists across all 50 states, addicted individuals still have the option of crossing the border into another state where their prescription history isn’t monitored.
The I-STOP plan was recently passed by both houses of the New York Legislature and is awaiting the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo before it goes into action in 2013.
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