Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Amid New York’s growing prescription drug epidemic, a bipartisan coalition of 23 mayors and town supervisors from across the state on Monday 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.
According to a news release issued Monday:
Support from the group of upstate and downstate leaders 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.
“As Mayors and Supervisors of cities and towns across the state, we are calling for swift action to address the prescription drug crisis that is hitting our communities hard. In upstate and downstate cities, big and small, prescription drug abuse is a dangerous and growing threat,” wrote the coalition in a statement. “We we are joining forces to urge the Legislature to pass Attorney General Schneiderman’s I-STOP plan to tackle this epidemic head on. I-STOP links doctors and pharmacists to a real time, online database to track the prescribing and dispensing of commonly-abused narcotics…Lawmakers must pass I-STOP before another life is lost.”
“The leaders of our cities and towns understand New York’s prescription drug crisis firsthand. Mayors and Supervisors see the devastation of this epidemic on the front lines, and that is why they stand united to protect our communities by supporting I-STOP,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The time is now to enact a real time system to streamline communication between doctors and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help. Inaction is not an option.”
The announcement of today’s growing coalition of city and town leaders comes in the wake of endorsements for the Attorney General’s I-STOP bill from 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. Bipartisan support in the state Legislature for I-STOP is growing as well, with 38 Senate and 53 Assembly sponsors signed on to the bill.
Several weeks ago, 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.
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.
The 23 mayors and town supervisors endorsing I-STOP today are:
Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle
Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo
Ernie Davis, Mayor of Mt. Vernon
Joseph DeStefano, Mayor of Middletown
Paul Dyster, Mayor of Niagara Falls
Jeffrey Graham, Mayor of Watertown
Wayne Hall, Mayor of Hempstead
Noramie Jasmin, Mayor of Spring Valley
Jerry Jennings, Mayor of Albany
Donald Kasprzak, Mayor of Plattsburgh
Bruce Kennedy, Mayor of Seacliff
Mark Lesko, Brookhaven Town Supervisor
Sheila Meegan, West Seneca Town Supervisor
Stephanie Miner, Mayor of Syracuse
Sue Montgomery Corey, Minerva Town Supervisor
Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca
Frank Petrone, Huntington Town Supervisor
Tom Roach, Mayor of White Plains
Matt Ryan, Mayor of Binghamton
Mike Spano, Mayor of Yonkers
Geoffrey Szymanski, Mayor of Lackawanna
Brian Tobin, Mayor of Cortland
Susan Zimet, New Paltz Town Supervisor
Below is the full statement from the bipartisan coalition of mayors and town executives endorsing I-STOP:
“As Mayors and Supervisors of cities and towns across the state, we are calling for swift action to address the prescription drug crisis that is hitting our communities hard. In upstate and downstate cities, big and small, prescription drug abuse is a dangerous and growing threat. Few communities have escaped the damage wrought by the skyrocketing number of overdoses, robberies and murders connected to prescription drugs in recent years.
“This problem requires the smart coordination of law enforcement officials, the medical community and lawmakers to address effectively. That is why we are joining forces to urge the Legislature to pass Attorney General Schneiderman’s I-STOP plan to tackle this epidemic head on. I-STOP links doctors and pharmacists to a real time, online database to track the prescribing and dispensing of commonly-abused narcotics. This modern approach will assist in patient treatment, stem the flow of pills obtained through stolen prescription pads, and help crack down on ‘doctor shopping,’ the practice in which an addict or criminal visits multiple medical professionals to obtain a massive supply of drugs.
“The time is now to act. New Yorkers are suffering and we cannot afford to wait any longer for a statewide solution. Lawmakers must pass I-STOP before another life is lost.”