New database launches to prevent medication abuse - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

New database launches to prevent medication abuse


COHOES, N.Y. – A statewide database just launched Tuesday will make it difficult to "doctor shop" for prescription drugs.

Under New York's new I-STOP law, patient prescriptions will be tracked through a Prescription Monitoring Program Registry, with the goal of cutting down on prescription drug abuse.

The database is required by the I-STOP law, passed last year. It requires doctors to check a patient's record before writing or filling a prescription for a narcotic or other powerful drug. The database allows drug providers to see whether a patient has already received a prescription for a particular medication from another provider, or has prescriptions for several different drugs. The idea is to alert providers to red flags that could indicate that a patient is abusing medication, or trying to sell it.

"This is a way to curb some of the abuse going on out there. Prescription drug addiction is out of control. If we do what we can to make it more difficult for people to abuse or mishandle drugs, we can put a dent in some of the tragic outcomes associated with prescription drug abuse," says John McDonald, Cohoes Assemblyman and President of Marra's Pharmacy.

Some physicians have expressed concern about the new database. They say physicians must presume that every patient is guilty of medication abuse until cleared by the database. It also creates more steps for pharmacists, who are required to submit data to the registry daily, instead of once a month, as in the past.

The New York Department of Health's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement monitors the I-STOP database. 

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