NEW I-STOP LAW IN EFFECT AUGUST 27
On August 27th, a new law called “I-STOP” (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) went into effect, which will be used to help identify and prevent the abuse of prescription drugs through a system of real-time prescription tracking information. The bill will is already a national model for other states and Congress to follow to curb prescription drug abuse, the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.
I-STOP establishes a “real-time” database that tracks every prescription for opioid pills that gets filled in New York State. Doctors are now required under the law to consult that database before writing any prescriptions for a Schedule II, III or IV controlled substance, including narcotic painkillers.
New York is currently the only state in the country with this verification requirement. It will prove a critical tool to provide medical professionals with the information necessary to detect “doctor-shoppers” and will allow them to better serve patients who both need these medications and who may be at risk of addiction. It will also allow doctors and pharmacists to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
I-STOP went into effect one year ago, but until August 27, it did not require doctors to check the database before writing prescriptions for controlled substances. Pharmacists are already required to report in real time each prescription they fill for these Schedule II, III, IV and V drugs and to consult the database before filling them. I-STOP has helped provide prescribers with as much information as possible as quickly as possible to avoid dangerous drug interactions and to detect drug dealers who use pharmacies as suppliers.
Earlier this year, two abused drugs – hydrocodone and tramadol – were rescheduled, with hydrocodone becoming a “Schedule II” drug. This ended automatic refills that evaded a medical review and served to feed addictions and support street sales. Tramadol, previously unscheduled, became a Schedule IV drug. (For a list of Controlled Substance Schedules, click here.
The I-STOP law has already established safe disposal programs, providing a place for New Yorkers to get rid of expired and unneeded drugs to ensure that they are not left in medicine cabinets for children or addicts to access, or to be mistakenly taken by household members.
In December of 2014, I-STOP will make New York one of the first states to schedule the universal mandate of e-prescribing for all drugs. This will eliminate the problem of forged, traded, or stolen prescriptions – used by both addicts and criminal organizations to obtain a wide variety of pills to resell on the street and on the black market. These crimes cost the taxpayer millions of dollars.
For more information about the I-STOP program, click here.