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State Attorney General combats prescription narcotic drug abuse

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State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is again pushing for legislation to create an online database to report and track the use of prescription narcotic drugs. On Wednesday, Schneiderman announced that his Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, which he proposed last year, has bipartisan support in the Legislature. He also issued a report that details the growing prescription drug abuse problem in every corner of the state, including the North Country. Chris Knight has our story.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

In a press release, Schneiderman said the prescription drug abuse crisis in New York and across the country has reached "epidemic proportions."

Contributing to the problem, he said, is a lack of communication between doctors and physicans, which increases the likelihood of over-prescribing and makes it easier for some people to "doctor shop" for prescription narcotics.

Schneiderman's legislation would require the Department of Health to establish and maintain an online, real-time reporting system to track the prescription of narcotic drugs. Doctors would also be required to review a patient's prescription history on the system before prescribing new drugs. Pharmacists would also have to review the system to confirm that a prescription someone presents is legitimate.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne called the legislation "a big step in the right direction."

"We've had a number of cases where people have obtained prescription drugs from one pharmacy, then they go across town or to another pharmacy in another county and they're buying the same drugs. If there was a way to cross-reference that quickly, there wouldn't be that product on the streets, potentially harming our children or our community," Champagne said. 

State Sen. Betty Little said she thinks state lawmakers will address the prescription drug abuse crisis this year. In a statment she said the attorney general's legislation would - quote - "be very effective at reducing abuse, preventing crime, saving taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, saving lives."


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