The Addiction Treatment Providers Association of New York State supports the I-STOP Act.
Prescription drug diversion involves channeling legitimately produced controlled substances from their lawful purpose into illicit drug traffic. Abuse of diverted drugs comprises the nation’s fastest growing drug problem, and in recent years has reached epidemic proportions. It affects every sector of society, straining our healthcare and criminal justice systems, and endangering the future of our younger gen- erations.
Painkiller overdoses nationwide killed nearly 15,000 people in 2008. In New York, the number of pre- scriptions for all narcotic painkillers has increased from 16.6 million in 2007 to nearly 22.5 million in 2010 – prescriptions for hydrocodone have increased 16.7 percent, while those for oxycodone have in- creased an astonishing 82 percent. 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 oxy- codone prescriptions and more than 825,000 hydrocodone prescriptions filled in 2009. The roots of the problem are two-fold. First, a lack of education and communication between practitioners signifi- cantly increases the likelihood of over-prescribing and dangerous drug interaction. Second, access to an ever-increasing supply of prescription narcotics, through legal or illegal means, has grown four-fold in the past decade.
Virtually all observers of prescription drug diversion agree that expanding the use of Prescription Monitoring Programs (PMPs), and enhancing the quality and availability of the data they collect, are essential to the solution. The federal Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), the Centers for Dis- ease Control and Prevention (CDC), the insurance industry, the White House, and independent re- searchers all point to such an expansion as a key part of the solution to prescription drug fraud, abuse and diversion.
While New York’s PMP collects critical data on prescription drugs dispensed by pharmacists, the cur- rent system is outdated with regard to how and when data is collected, who has access to it, and how it is used.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has introduced a program bill in the State Leg- islature that would exponentially enhance the effectiveness of New York’s existing PMP to increase de- tection of prescription fraud and drug diversion. A.8320 (Cusick)/S.5720 (Lanza) would enact the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) Act, to establish an on-line, real-time, con- trolled substance reporting system that requires prescribers and pharmacists to search for and report certain data at the time a controlled substance prescription is issued, and at the time such substance is dispensed. The legislation would:
• require the Department of Health to establish and maintain an on-line, real-time controlled sub- stance reporting system to track the prescription and dispensing of controlled substances;
• require practitioners to review a patient’s controlled substance prescription history on the system prior to prescribing;
• require practitioners or their agents to report a prescription for such controlled substances to the system at the time of issuance;
• require pharmacists to review the system to confirm the person presenting such a prescription possesses a legitimate prescription prior to dispensing such substance;
• require pharmacists or their agents to report dispensation of such prescriptions at the time the drug is dispensed.
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 to detect potentially dan- gerous 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.
For more information on the I-STOP Act please download or view the PDF file here