(WKBW release) New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday 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 to address the problem, the site urges doctors, pharmacists, addiction sufferers and their families to put a human face on the issue, and help persuade state lawmakers to pass Schneiderman’s Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing (I-STOP) plan aimed at reining in prescription drug abuse. I-STOP connects doctors and pharmacists to a real time, online database that tracks the prescribing and dispensing of frequently abused narcotics.
“Numbers and statistics are important, but at the end of the day, the prescription drug crisis is about people,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a news release. “The firsthand experiences of doctors, pharmacists, patients and family members prove that the status quo is not tenable. You can’t read these stories and not feel some urgency to improve our system and prevent more tragedies from happening in the future.”
To visit the “Share Your I-STOP Story” website go to: www.ag.ny.gov/online_forms/istop.jsp
According to the news release:
The launch of the “Share Your I-STOP Story” site comes in the wake of endorsements for the Attorney General’s legislation 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 30 Senate and 40 Assembly sponsors from both parties signed on, including lead sponsors Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island)
The I-STOP stories on the website include those of parents, doctors and pharmacists urging the Legislature to address the prescription drug crisis.
“Tools to improve communication and transparency between health care providers offer the potential to mitigate this disturbing trend of prescription drug abuse while preserving the flexibility needed by physicians,” said Robert J. Fortuna, MD, MPH of Rochester.
“We’re not the first parents to lose a child to drug addiction, but we’d like to be among the last. Please help put a mechanism in place to track prescriptions and drug inventories in the doctor’s offices to bring an end to the addiction epidemic,” said Teri Kroll of Copiague.
“I urge everyone to work together for a solution that will save other people from the same fate that became of my son Michael. When you lose a child, you lose your future,” said Avi Israel of Buffalo.
“I-STOP is the key that we need in order to perform our role as pharmacists to the utmost of our ability - dispensing medications responsibly in a way that will keep New Yorkers safer from the epidemic of prescription drug abuse,” said pharmacist Dora Sosnowik of Oceanside.
Attorney General Schneiderman recently released a report detailing the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic in New York State and nationwide, illustrating the need for a new solution. 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. Both admissions for prescription drug abuse treatment, and deadly overdoses of prescription drugs, are on the rise, according to the report.
The Attorney General’s I-STOP bill would create an online, real-time database to report and track both the prescribing and the dispensing of certain narcotics. The system would 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. Prescription drug monitoring programs operate in 43 states.