Senator Fuschillo Announces New Law to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

     Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R – Merrick) announced that legislation he cosponsored to help combat prescription drug abuse has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new “I-STOP” law will significantly improve the way prescription drugs are prescribed and monitored in New York State.

     “Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic which has already led to tragedy here on Long Island. Stronger measures are needed to prevent drug abusers from gaming the system. The new safeguards created under ‘I-STOP’ will ensure that doctors and pharmacists receive improved information so that prescription drugs are only given to those who truly need them. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this law,” said Senator Fuschillo.

     The new “I-STOP” law will:

     • Create 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;

     • Require 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;

     • Update controlled substance schedules to align New York’s Controlled Substances Act with Federal Law and changing the schedules for hydrocodone compounds and tramadol to reduce abuse;

     • Establish 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.

     Prescription drug abuse has become the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 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 in the past year.

     The abuse of prescription drugs is a statewide problem. On New Years Eve of last year, off-duty Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agent John Capano was fatally shot when he intervened in a robbery involving prescription drugs at Charlie’s Pharmacy in Seaford, Nassau County. Last year, on June 19, 2011, David Laffer shot and killed four people at a drug store in Medford, Suffolk County, as he stole 11,000 prescription hydrocodone pills.