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New York State Law Aimed At Ending Prescription Drug Abuse Takes Effect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A key provision took effect in New York state Tuesday to help crack down on prescription drug abuse.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was in Staten Island touting the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, known as I-STOP.

As of Tuesday, doctors must check a patient's narcotic prescription history before issuing or refilling a prescription.

New York State Law Aimed At Ending Prescription Drug Abuse Takes Effect

The measure was passed unanimously by the state Legislature in 2012.

Under the law, a real-time database was set up to track every narcotic prescription filled in the state.

Schneiderman said the growing problem of prescription drug abuse was aided by a patient's ability to go "doctor-shopping" and get several prescriptions filled at a time.

The law, he said, will end the ability to do that in the state.

"One year ago today, I-STOP became law, creating a national model for smart, coordinated communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help," said Schneiderman in a statement. "Illegal trafficking in prescription drugs poses an enormous danger to the public. I-STOP has already started reducing the supply of opioid painkillers on the street, even before mandatory verification took effect. Now, New York is leading the nation in the fight to protect the public from the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse."

Schneiderman said the new database will also allow doctors to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions before a prescription is issued.

Teri Kroll told WCBS 880's Jim Smith that she believes the database could have saved her son's life.

Timothy -- "an all-American, straight-A student" from Long Island -- was prescribed large doses of powerful painkillers to help with headaches. "Percocets to Vicodins to ultimately oxycodones," she said. Timothy later turned to street drugs, which took his life at age 23.

I-STOP also established safe disposal programs, providing a place for New Yorkers to get rid of expired and unneeded drugs.

Beginning next December, I-STOP will make New York one of the first states to universally mandate e-prescribing of all drugs to help eliminate forged, stolen or traded prescriptions.

For more information on the I-STOP program, click here.

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