Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be wading into the legislative waters this year with an effort to create an online database to track prescription drug abuse.
Today, Mr. Schneiderman’s office is releasing a report detailing how prescription drug abuse and trafficking has gone through the roof, mainly though a lack of communication among pharmacists and doctors. The legislation introduced today was unveiled last year and is known as the “Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act,” or “I-STOP. It will provide health care practitioners and pharmacists with centralized information to avoid over-prescribing, help shut down prescription drug trafficking, and identify and treat patients who seek to abuse prescription drugs.
“The prescription drug abuse crisis in New York and across the country has reached epidemic proportions. Today’s report illustrates how this growing problem demands a better solution for both our health care providers and law enforcement officials to track the flow of potentially dangerous substances. Inaction is not an option,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I-STOP uses real-time, online technology to streamline communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who are addicted. The time to act is now.”
It will be interesting to watch how effective Mr. Schneiderman is at getting priority legislation passed. He represented Upper Manhattan for a decade in the State Senate, but was generally known as one of the more prickly members of the body. This bill is being carried by two Staten Islanders–Michael Cusick, Democrat, in the Assembly and Andrew Lanza, Republican, in the Senate.
If passed, the bill would
- require the Department of Health to establish and maintain an online, real-time controlled substance 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; and
- require pharmacists or their agents to report dispensation of such prescriptions.
UPDATE: This is not apparently the first bill Mr. Schneiderman has introduced. His office informs me that last year the legislature introduced a bill to crack down on tax cheats