IN THE NEWS: Staten Island lawmakers are to be applauded for cutting-edge Rx drug legislation
By Dr. KENNETH POPLER
Congratulations to Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Sen. Andrew Lanza for their leadership in sponsoring the I-STOP legislation, which will allow for more informed prescription practices for physicians and pharmacists.
Staten Island is the epicenter of prescription drug abuse in New York City and State. Our borough has the highest rate of filled opioid analgesic (pain medication) prescriptions.
In 2010 there were 46,281 filled prescriptions per 100,000 Staten Island residents. That’s almost one filled prescription for every two residents. Our rate is more than double the rate of three of the four remaining boroughs.
The I-STOP legislation, once enacted, will provide a real-time and user-friendly data base that gives physicians and pharmacists information about each patient’s prescription history, re-classifies the most potent drugs, and establishes a safe drug disposal program.
Never in recent memory has there been such a strong bipartisan achievement than the one realized by these two representatives from Staten Island.
They were able to garner the support of the leadership of each of their respective legislative houses as well as that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The legislation passed both houses unanimously and is waiting for the governor’s signature.
We are very grateful to you both.
[The writer, a clinical psychologist, is the president and CEO of the Staten Island Mental Health Society, which sponsors the Teen Center, a state licensed substance abuse treatment program for teens and young adults.]