State Prescription Drug Tracking Takes Effect
BREWSTER, N.Y.– State Senator Greg Ball is reminding residents that a prescription drug tracking system has now taken effect statewide.
The Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing Act, or “I-Stop,” created a real time tracking system to monitor prescription drug distribution, allowing health practitioners, pharmacists and law enforcement to access patients’ controlled substance histories.
In a prepared statement, Ball said the legislation is intended to protect families.
“We have seen far too many families in our region affected by prescription drug overdose,” Ball said. “This will now enable our state to better crack down on the illegal trafficking of painkillers and take a pro-active approach to fixing this problem.”
Nationwide, prescription painkillers are responsible for approximately 15,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits annually. Putnam County Health Department Commissioner Dr. Alan Beals said recently prescription drug addiction is a common precursor to heroin addiction, because heroin is so much cheaper and readily accessible.
“All too many tragedies have resulted from prescription drug overdoses and countless lives have been ruined by addiction to pain-killers. The new law will help fight that scourge,” Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith said in the same prepared statement. “The provisions in the new law will enable law enforcers, medical providers and pharmacists to stem the abuse of prescription pain medications in our communities.”
Two local families who lost children to heroin overdoses created an organization called “Drug Crisis in Our Backyard.” Susan and Steve Salomone and Lou and Carol Christiansen said they supported the new law.
“We are encouraged by the I-STOP legislation for two reasons. The first being that doctors and patients are now being monitored; the second being the New York State legislature is acknowledging the opiate problem that exists,” said Susan Salomone. “I believe this is the tip of the iceberg but hopefully it will stem the tide of overdoses that are occurring currently in our communities.”
The new legislation creates a real time prescription monitoring program which also requires electronic prescriptions. The law also updates the controlled substance schedule to include hydrocodone compounds and tramadol to help reduce abuse. It also enhances the state’s Prescription Pain Medication Awareness Program and enhances the Safe Disposal Program to make it easier for people to safely dispose of unused and expired medications.