Senator Fuschillo Joins Attorney General in Discussing Recently Approved “I-Stop” Legislation to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

     Photo caption; Senator Fuschillo (speaking) discusses how the recently approved I-STOP legislation he cosponsored will help combat the growing prescription drug epidemic on Long Island and throughout New York State.

     Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R – Merrick) recently joined with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and other state and local officials to inform residents about the recently approved “I-STOP” legislation. The “I-STOP” legislation, which was cosponsored by Senator Fuschillo and Senator Hannon, would significantly improve the way prescription drugs are prescribed and monitored in New York State.

     “Prescription drug abuse is a rapidly growing epidemic which has already led to tragedies on Long Island. We need to keep these drugs out of the hands of abusers. ‘I-STOP’ creates new safeguards that will help prevent people from abusing the system and give doctors and pharmacists improved information to ensure that the only people who get prescription drugs are those who truly need them,” said Senator Fuschillo.

     Provisions of the “I-STOP” legislation include:

     • Creating a modernized and improved “real time” Prescription Monitoring Program (I-STOP) that practitioners and pharmacists can securely and easily access, allowing them to view their patients' controlled substance histories;

     • Requiring 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;

     • Updating 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;

     • Establishing 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.

     The abuse of prescription medicine 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 four and killed four people at a drug store in Medford, Suffolk County, as he stole 11,000 prescription hydrocodone pills.

     The legislation has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly and will be sent to Governor Cuomo for consideration. The Governor is expected to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.