Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law today that will help the state crack down on prescription drug abuse.
The new law changes the way prescription drugs are distributed and tracked in New York, including requiring doctors to file prescriptions into an instant online database. Pharmacists would then have access to the database before filling requests for addictive drugs, such as painkillers.
The new database — called I-STOP — was pushed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as a way to combat so-called doctor shopping, in which drug abusers get multiple prescriptions for the same drug by visiting several different doctors.
“Too many families in New York state have suffered the loss of a teenager or youth as a result of prescription-drug abuse,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With this new law, New York state is tackling this problem head-on and giving law enforcement and medical professionals the tools they need to stop abuse before it occurs and crack down on offenders.”
The law also creates a group of stakeholders who will develop medical education courses and other public awareness measures regarding pain management and prescription drugs. And it requires the Department of Health to establish a safe disposal program for unused medications.