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Prescription drug abuse gains Albany's attention

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

There's an increasing problem of misuse of prescription drugs from an increasing oversupply.

Law enforcement officials say they need controls and new Albany legislation may provide those controls.

Police have busted an array of questionable sources of prescription drugs, from a Niagara County doctor to pharmacies.

The drugs then show up in the illegal market, legal pills for illegal purposes.

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan says it's hard to keep track because prescription records only have to be submitted within 45 days.

He's pushing a bill requiring pharmacists to check an on-line site to make sure a potential customer hasn't visited several doctors that day for pills.

Ryan says there has been extensive pushback from pharmaceutical lobbyists.
"The lobbyists are there, but it's a real great example of democracy in action because you know who's leveling off the lobbyists? (It) is the parents and the parents of children who died of drug overdose," Ryan said.

"That's why we're going to get this pushed this year because this is a bill which is coming out of our communities and the parents' voices are being heard."

Ryan says parents telling tales of children being addicted to prescription drugs from over-prescriptions and school mates is pushing aside the lobbyists complaining about over-regulation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.