Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson Sponsors Legislation to Help Protect Our Families from Prescription Drug Abuse

To combat the steady rise of prescription-drug abuse among youths in Monroe County, Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Riga/Rush/Wheatland) announced the Assembly passed legislation he sponsored to create an Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) of prescription drugs (A.10623). The database would be the first real-time prescription-drug abuse tracking system in the country, has the support from the governor, the attorney general and both sides of the aisle in the Senate and Assembly.

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this bipartisan measure that will help protect our families from prescription-drug abuse,” Assemblymember Bronson said. “New York’s current regulations make it far too easy to take advantage of our legal prescription-drug system.”

The Department of Health (DOH) will be in charge of creating and maintaining I-STOP. All doctors and pharmacists will be required to run prescriptions through the database to check for an individual receiving multiples of the same prescription at different locations. Doctors will also be required to review a patient’s controlled substance prescription history on I-STOP in an attempt to identify repeat abusers.

Other provisions of the I-STOP legislation include:

  • shifting Hydrocodone to a Schedule II drug so that prescriptions have a 30-day limit instead of the current 5-refill allotment for first-time patients;
  • establishing a continuing education program on prescription pain medication awareness for practitioners and pharmacies; and
  • creating a DOH drug disposal program to safely cut down on the number of unused controlled substances in the public domain.

“Our current regulations aren’t strong enough to prevent prescription drug abuse,” Assemblymember Bronson said. “This legislation will strengthen our regulations while keeping these powerful drugs out of the hands of those who misuse them.”

A 2011 study commissioned by the Monroe County Department of Health found that 11.5 percent of teenagers in the area have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. The percentage has risen since the department’s last survey in 2009.i The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that prescription drug overdoses in the U.S. account for nearly 40 deaths every day, more than heroin and cocaine combined.ii

“Prescription-drug abuse has become a serious problem that warrants additional protections for the families of Monroe County,” Assemblymember Bronson said. “A real-time database will help doctors and pharmacists identify abusers and stop future crimes from occurring.”