Thomas F. O'Mara

September 07, 2012

One of the true highlights of the 2012 legislative session was recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

It's called I-STOP and it's a measure that makes New York State a national leader in combating prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug abuse has emerged as one of America’s most alarming, tragic and urgent public health challenges.  This action places New York at the forefront of addressing it and attempting to save lives, especially young lives.

Consider this: in 2010, over 22 million prescriptions for painkilling drugs were written in New York State -- not including refills.  That’s a stunning figure, especially in a state where the entire population is less than 20 million.  

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses due to prescription painkillers. In 2010, 1 in 20 people in the United States over the age of 11 reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons.

Moreover, an estimated 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers obtained them from friends or relatives who originally received the medication from a prescription. The problem is of particular concern with respect to young adults and teens.