Coalition Of 20 Addiction Treatment Providers Endorses Schneiderman's I-STOP Plan To Address Rx Drug Crisis
NYS Chapter Of Treatment Communities of America, Including Phoenix House, Joins Coalition Supporting A.G.’s Proposed Online, Real Time Database To Track Prescription Narcotics
Groundbreaking “I-STOP” Legislation Would Crack Down On Abuses Like ‘Doc-Shopping’ And Rx Forgeries
Momentum Building For Schneiderman Plan To Reform Prescription Drug Monitoring System
NEW YORK— Amid New York’s growing prescription drug epidemic, a leading professional association representing 20 providers serving people with substance abuse issues today endorsed Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing (I-STOP) plan to create an online database to report and track certain controlled substances in real time. Support from the New York State members of Treatment Communities of America (TCA), including the prominent substance abuse treatment organization Phoenix House, follows the release of a recent report by the Attorney General detailing the growing prescription drug abuse crisis in every corner of New York State. Statewide, the number of prescriptions for all narcotic painkillers has increased by six million, from 16.6 million in 2007 to nearly 22.5 million in 2010.
In its endorsement, TCA of New York said, “Arguments that suggest only slight improvements in our current approaches and systems are well-intended, but insufficient. The current system is not working, which is why we see more and more people turning to our treatment programs for help. It's time to move forward with solutions that recognize that we are now in the midst of a public health crisis. We hope that lawmakers will act on I-STOP this year and that they continue to pursue policies that take significant steps to reverse this terrible trend…The Attorney General's bill calling for the creation of a real-time prescription tracking database helps to build the foundation for this comprehensive approach.”
“New York’s TCA members are on the front lines – providing integrated and holistic care for people struggling with substance abuse. They understand the prescription drug crisis firsthand. By lending their support to a growing number of law enforcement officials, elected leaders and health care advocates, they bolster the growing coalition working to create the I-STOP database to track prescription narcotics before it’s too late. The time is now to streamline communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
I-STOP will vastly enhance the effectiveness of the present system. Its goal is to enable doctors and pharmacists to provide prescription pain medications, and other controlled substances, to patients who truly need them. At the same time, it will arm them with the necessary data in real time to detect potentially dangerous drug interactions, identify patterns of abuse by patients, doctors and pharmacists, help those who suffer from crippling addictions and prevent potential addiction before it starts. Prescription drug monitoring programs operate in 43 states.
TCA was founded in 1975 as a non for profit member-led professional association in the United States and Canada. Its New York affiliate is the oldest consortium of residential treatment programs in the state. Member program sites providing an array of integrated services which include primary and preventive care, outreach; education, assessment, referral and follow-up; detoxification and crisis management; residential treatment with aftercare support; outpatient services; family therapy; mental health services; vocational assistance and job placement; emergency, transitional and permanent housing with supportive services.
The members of the New York State chapter of Treatment Communities Association endorsing I-STOP today are:
- Acacia Network, Bronx, NY
- Argus Community, Bronx, NY
- Camelot Counseling Centers, Staten Island, NY
- Credo Community, Watertown, NY
- DAYTOP, New York, NY
- Dynamic Youth Community, Brooklyn, NY
- Educational Alliance, New York, NY
- HELP/Project Samaritan, Bronx, NY
- Horizon Health Services, Buffalo, NY
- Hospitality House, Albany, NY
- J-CAP, Queens, NY
- Lower Eastside Services Center, New York, NY
- Odyssey House, New York, NY
- Outreach Project, Queens, NY
- Palladia, New York, NY
- Phoenix House Foundation, New York, NY
- Renaissance, Elmsford, NY
- Samaritan Village, Queens, NY
- Stay’N Out (New York Therapeutic Communities), New York, NY
- Veritas, New York, NY
Support from TCA of New York comes in the wake of endorsements for the Attorney General’s bill from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as a bipartisan coalition of 24 U.S. Representatives from across New York State, the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, New York State Association of PBA's, and the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, Inc. Support in the state Legislature for I-STOP is growing as well, with 34 Senate and 49 Assembly sponsors signed on to the bill, including lead sponsors Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island).
Earlier this month, Attorney General Schneiderman launched a new website, “Share Your I-STOP Story,” that showcases personal stories from New Yorkers who have been impacted by the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse. As momentum builds for legislative action, the site urges doctors, pharmacists, addiction sufferers and their family members to put a human face on the problem, and help persuade state lawmakers to pass I-STOP.
A copy of the Attorney General’s report on prescription drug abuse is available online Here.
Below is the full statement of support for I-STOP from TCA of New York:
“As addiction treatment providers on the front line of this growing crisis, we recognize that prescription drug abuse is tearing apart families and communities in every part of the state. We see the actual human faces behind the staggering numbers, and we--perhaps more that anyone--fully recognize that the problem is only getting much worse.
“We cannot afford to wait for piecemeal solutions--we need a comprehensive approach at tackling this problem, which will include education, coordination and integration of approaches that link the needs of addicts and their families, the medical and substance abuse treatment communities, law enforcement and state government. The Attorney General's bill calling for the creation of a real-time prescription tracking database helps to build the foundation for this comprehensive approach. By giving prescribers and dispensers of these highly addictive substances the tools to communicate instantly and accurately with each other, we start to greatly reduce the likelihood of wrongful and excessive prescribing, which also sets the stage for referral to treatment opportunities, both of which promise to have a significant impact on the problem.
“Arguments that suggest only slight improvements in our current approaches and systems are well-intended, but insufficient. The current system is not working, which is why we see more and more people turning to our treatment programs for help. It's time to move forward with solutions that recognize that we are now in the midst of a public health crisis. We hope that lawmakers will act on I-STOP this year and that they continue to pursue policies that take significant steps to reverse this terrible trend.”