Rx Drug Abuse Bill Passes Legislature

First-In-The-Nation Law Will Require Doctors To Check Patient Prescription History And Pharmacists To Update Database In Real Time

The New York State Legislature has unanimously passed the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP. Introduced in June of 2011 by Attorney General Schneiderman, I-STOP is an online database that enables doctors and pharmacists to report and track controlled narcotics in real time.

The bipartisan legislation – the first joint Attorney General-Governor program bill in recent memory – passed the Assembly by a margin of 116-0 and the Senate 58 to 0.

“This is a major victory for the people of New York. With I-STOP, we are creating a national model for smart, coordinated communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “I applaud the Legislature for taking action to curb the prescription drug crisis that has impacted families in every corner of this state, and Governor Cuomo for his leadership and commitment to signing I-STOP into law. Now, New York will be a national leader in protecting the public from the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.”

Among the features of the legislation:

· I-STOP will make New York the first state in the nation to mandate that physicians consult a database of a patient’s prescription history before prescribing a schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance. Accurate patient histories and better training will help physicians detect doctor shoppers and better serve patients at risk of addiction. Doctors can also use this information to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.

· I-STOP will make New York the largest, and only second state in the nation, to require real-time reporting by pharmacists when schedule II, III, IV or V prescriptions are filled.

· I-STOP will make New York one of the first states to schedule the universal mandate of e-prescribing for controlled substances in December of 2014. The regulations will be promulgated by December 2012. This will nearly eliminate the problem of forged or stolen prescriptions—used both by addicts, and criminal organizations obtaining pills to resell on the street.

· I-STOP will reschedule hydrocodone to Schedule II, ending automatic refills for this highly abused drug.

· I-STOP will schedule tramadol, a ‘drug of concern’ to Schedule IV (it is currently unscheduled).

· I-STOP will establish a safe disposal program providing a place for New Yorkers to get rid of expired and unneeded drugs to ensure that they are not left in medicine cabinets for children or addicts to access.