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LISTEN ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings.

State leaders agree on prescription tracking measure

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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The Cuomo Administration, the State Senate and Assembly stand ready to approve a comprehensive package of legislation, bills that seek to control and, if possible, eliminate the abuse of prescription drugs. 

Known as the Michael David Israel laws, the bills are named after the 20 year old Buffalo area man who committed suicide in June 2011, after a lengthy and, ultimately unsuccessful, battle against his addiction. 

State Senator Timothy Kennedy hasbeen instrumental in steering the package through the Legislature.

"The new and updated prescription monitoring program that creates this real-time data base requires an enhancement and modernization of the Department of Health secure prescription monitoring program
registry will include information about dispense of controlled substances reported by pharmacies on a real time basis will effectively stop doctor shopping and combat the circulation of the illegally obtained prescription
drugs," said Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy expressed confidence that this prescription drug  tracking system will be approved by both houses and signed into law by the governor in the coming weeks.

“This is a major victory for the families of this state who understand first-hand the devastation of prescription drug abuse,” said Senator Kennedy.  

“We need to thank Attorney General Schneiderman for taking action to address this growing crisis that is hitting our communities hard. I-STOP is the right solution to curb the skyrocketing number of overdoses, suicides, robberies and murders connected to prescription drugs in recent years,” Kennedy added. “I urge my colleagues to join me in pushing for swift passage of this legislation. We must act now before more lives are lost.”

Israel's story of prescription drug abuse was highlighted as one of the tragic results of New York's lax oversight of prescription drugs.

“It has been a struggle every since we lost Michael, one year ago yesterday.  He was an extremely outgoing, bright kid, who excelled in school and who was a pleasure to be around,” said Avi Israel.

The new system will eventually force prescription- writing doctors and pharmacists to immediately report their activities.