Prescription Drug Abuse Legislation Signed into Law
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Richmond) announced today that Governor Cuomo has signed their legislation, A.10623 known as I-STOP into law.
I-STOP is an Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing of prescription drugs to curb the diversion and abuse of such drugs and to promote the safe and effective use of prescription medications. I-STOP establishes a real-time database for prescription monitoring by tracking the dispensing of prescription drugs to be used by practitioners and pharmacists, and implements mandatory phase in of electronic prescribing eventually eliminating the need for paper prescriptions. This law will provide practitioners with the proper tools to assess patients and prevent them from diverting or abusing prescription drugs.
Senator Lanza and Assemblyman Cusick have been on the forefront of this issue working with practitioners, doctors, law enforcement agencies, substance abuse agencies and pain addiction programs. The two lawmakers noticed the escalating prescription drug abuse problem on Staten Island that was resulting in doctor shopping, pharmacy robberies, stolen prescription pads, and an increase in emergency room visits by abusers and addicts of prescription medications. They quickly found out that this was a growing epidemic throughout New York State.
“I am pleased the Governor signed this landmark legislation today. I-STOP is the result of an effort I started with Senator Lanza two years ago to eradicate prescription drug abuse and implement important reforms to address the growing epidemic. This truly was a culmination of hard work and team effort with Senator Lanza, Attorney General Schneiderman and the Governor resulting in a law that provides appropriate controls to restrict access of abusers and ensure those who profit from the abuse face the necessary consequences. The toll this fast-growing drug abuse problem has taken on our communities is devastating and I-STOP will not only save lives, it will be an asset to our law enforcement agencies in deterring crime,” said Assemblyman Cusick.
Senator Andrew Lanza said, "Governor Cuomo’s signature on this landmark legislation means that the State of New York has now taken the lead in turning back the prescription drug abuse epidemic which has ravaged families from one end of New York to the other. Doctors and pharmacists will now have the tools necessary to help Staten Islanders avoid falling prey to prescription drug abuse and to help those under its influence. This historic legislation will hopefully serve as the model for other states in order to address what has become a national epidemic. I wholeheartedly thank and commend my Staten Island colleague Assemblyman Cusick, Governor Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman and Senator Hannon for their leadership on this life and death issue."
I-STOP makes New York State a national leader by being one of the first states to require a real-time database for tracking prescription drugs to ensure patients receive the medications they need while putting in safeguards to deter those who seek to abuse them.