N.Y. painkiller scripts up 6M in 3 years

Jan. 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The number of prescriptions for all narcotic painkillers in New York state jumped by 6 million from 2007 to 2010, the state attorney general says.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said prescriptions for painkillers increased from 16.6 million to 22.5 million from 2007 to 2010, and the prescription drug abuse crisis in New York and across the country has reached epidemic proportions.

In New York City, the rate of prescription pain medication misuse among those age 12 or older increased by 40 percent from 2002 to 2009 -- with nearly 900,000 oxycodone prescriptions and more than 825,000 hydrocodone prescriptions filled in 2009, Schneiderman said.

"The report illustrates how this growing problem demands a better solution for both our healthcare providers and law enforcement officials to track the flow of potentially dangerous substances. Inaction is not an option," Schneiderman said in a statement. "My proposal uses real-time, online technology to streamline communication between healthcare providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking and provide treatment to those who are addicted. The time to act is now."

Schneiderman's Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act provides healthcare practitioners and pharmacists with centralized information to avoid over-prescribing, help shut down prescription drug trafficking and identify and treat patients who seek to abuse prescription drugs.

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