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Post date: July 16 2012

A.G. Schneiderman On Staten Island To Detail Landmark I-Stop Legislation To Curb Rx Drug Abuse

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

New York Will Be One Of The First To Implement E-Prescribing Of Controlled Substances, Ending Abuse Of Forged Or Stolen Scripts

Schneiderman: I-STOP Is A National Model For Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse


STATEN ISLAND— Following the unanimous passage of the I-STOP plan, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today was joined by a coalition of doctors, pharmacists and elected officials to detail the impact of the new legislation on Staten Island. The Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act is set to become a national model for other states and Congress to follow to curb prescription drug abuse, the nation’s fastest growing drug problem. 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 is the first joint Attorney General-Governor program bill in recent memory.

“This is a major victory for the people of Staten Island and families across the state. 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,” saidAttorney General Schneiderman. “I applaud the families, advocates and lawmakers for taking action to curb the prescription drug crisis that has impacted communities in every corner of this state, and Governor Cuomo for his leadership and commitment to signing I-STOP into law. New York is now leading the nation in protecting the public from the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.”

Among the features of groundbreaking 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.

I-STOP will also deter fraud against private health insurers and the state government. Taxpayers have been paying for a substantial portion of the over-prescribed pills through the Medicaid program. Each ring of collusive patients and prescribers prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit represented a loss to the State of at least $1 million.

Attorney General Schneiderman first introduced the I-STOP bill in June 2011.

In January of this year, the Attorney General released a report detailing the scope of the prescription drug epidemic in New York State and demonstrating the need for action by the Legislature. Here are some examples illustrating the crisis on Staten Island and across New York State:

  • Statewide prescriptions for hydrocodone have increased 16.7 percent, while those for oxycodone have increased an astonishing 82 percent between 2007 and 2009;
  • Fatalities on Staten Island linked to accidental overdoses of prescription drugs increased by 147 percent from 3 per 100,000 in 2005 to 7.4 per 100,000 in 2009 – more than double the rate of any other borough;
  • Of the five New York City neighborhoods with the highest per capita rates of prescriptions filled for narcotic painkillers, four of the top five were on Staten Island;
  • In New York City, the rate of prescription pain medication misuse among those age 12 or older increased by 40 percent from 2002 to 2009, with nearly 900,000 oxycodone prescriptions and more than 825,000 hydrocodone prescriptions filled in 2009; and
  • In 2011, a Staten Island man pled guilty to distributing 42,775 oxycodone pills from his ice-cream truck.

I-STOP will vastly enhance the effectiveness of the present prescription tracking 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 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. 

Leaders in law enforcement, the medical community, the Legislature, as well as parent advocates, praised Attorney General Schneiderman’s critical role in shepherding the bill to passage. I-STOP is supported by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as a bipartisan coalition of 24 U.S. Representatives from across New York State, 20 addiction treatment provider organizations, 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.

"This legislation allows our physicians and pharmacists to access real-time prescription histories to ensure that patients' prescription use is legitimate - not lethal. We are doing away with the state's outdated monitoring system, and will now have a modern database that is updated in real time so that no addict or criminal slips through undetected,” saidSenator Andrew J. Lanza. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation with the Attorney General to give medical professionals the tools they need to improve health care service, stop prescription drug abuse, and most importantly, save lives."

“The lack of an efficient communication system between doctors and pharmacists has contributed to the prescription drug epidemic,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “The I-STOP legislation creates a new apparatus that allows doctors and pharmacists to coalesce in regards to the treatment of patients and hinders the misuse of prescription drugs.”

"This real-time database will not only make it easier for those of us in law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the illegal sales and abuse of prescription narcotics, it will also allow us to prevent the proliferation of these pills on our streets, by stopping them at the point of distribution,” saidStaten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr.“I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman and our state Legislators for creating the standard that will hopefully lead to the creation of a national prescription drug database."

“I want to thank my colleagues Assemblyman Cusick and Senator Lanza for sponsoring the I-STOP legislation and working with Attorney General Schneiderman to get it passed,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone. “At a time when prescription drug abuse is ravaging families and threatening the lives of countless Staten Islanders, I STOP is an important and necessary step in combating the prescription pill crisis.”

“With Attorney General Schneiderman's I-STOP law, we can help to curb the prescription drug epidemic on Staten Island. Through educating doctors on how to help patients with pain and its new tracking database, this legislation will save lives. This legislation will also help save the state money because its new tracking system will deter fraud, ending the wrongful prescription of pills through the Medicaid program,” saidCouncilwoman Debi Rose. “I commend the Attorney General, Senator Lanza and Assembly Member Cusick for championing this legislation.”

“Prescription drug abuse is a growing crisis on Staten Island and across the state. I applaud the leadership of Attorney General Schneiderman, the Governor's office, Assemblyman Cusick and State Senator Lanza in meeting with the pharmaceutical and medical communities to collaboratively address this issue,” said Dr. David Kim. “The I-STOP plan is a critical first step for doctors, pharmacists and patients in the combat against prescription drug abuse. It is a great example of all stakeholders coming together and working constructively to address this epidemic, saving meaningful lives from being wasted, or even lost."

"I want to thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Senator Andrew Lanza, DA Dan Donovan and Assemblyman Mike Cusick, for getting the I-Stop bill passed. As a pharmacist and owner of a neighborhood pharmacy this bill will definitely make us safer. The Mandating of e-scribing will eliminate forged paper prescriptions,"  said Pharmacist Robert Annicharico. "Last but by no mean least giving us full access to the new database will allow pharmacists to have a complete picture of a patient's prescription history enabling us do a true drug utilization review. As a member of the community I applaud the passing of this bill that will make Staten Island a safer place especially for my wife and 3 children."