Senator Kennedy Announces Actions Taken to Advance Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse

February 13, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Senator Kennedy Announces Actions Taken to Advance Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse

February 13, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- New York State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy announced Monday
that progress is being made in the fight against prescription drug abuse.

At the State Capitol Monday morning, a roundtable forum brought various perspectives together to discuss actions that must be taken to address the growing epidemic. Later in the day, the Senate passed legislation to crackdown on drug dealers and pill mills.

Several local advocates made the trip to Albany to participate in the joint legislative roundtable on New York's prescription drug abuse epidemic - which was called by Senator Kemp Hannon, chairman of the Health Committee, and Senator Jeffrey Klein, chairman of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

Avi and Julie Israel, who founded advocacy group "Save the Michaels of the World", testified before the panel to share the story of their son, Michael David Israel, who took his own life after battling prescription drug addiction. Suzanne and Mark Crotty also attended the forum and met with key lawmakers to discuss the tragedy their family suffered when their son Zach Crotty overdosed on prescription pills.

Representatives from doctors groups, pharmacies, addiction treatment, the Attorney General's Office and the Health Department also participated in the roundtable to voice their thoughts on the drug abuse crisis and necessary actions to address it.

"Far too many families have endured tragedies as a result of prescription drug addiction. It's absolutely urgent that we address this issue this year," Senator Kennedy said in a news release. "At the roundtable forum, we had a very productive conversation about New York's growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse and the urgent actions we must take to combat it. Momentum is building on this issue, and we can't let up now. We need to fight this crisis before it takes another life."