Cuomo: I-STOP has had ‘tremendous success’ curbing drug abuse

FILE PHOTO | Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the success of the state’s I-STOP program.

A new online system called I-STOP that’s used to track prescription drugs is helping to curb drug abuse across New York, state officials said Monday.

More than 66,000 health care professionals have run more than 7 million individual prescription checks on nearly three million separate patients since August 2013, according to a press release issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

New York’s previous prescription monitoring program was utilized by nearly 5,000 practitioners who checked about 500,000 patients over a three and a half year period, the release states.

“Prescription drug abuse is a nationwide epidemic and, with the I-STOP system, New York State is showing tremendous success in cracking down on this problem,” Governor Cuomo said. “My administration is working around the clock to strengthen New York’s healthcare delivery system and, by eliminating this dangerous and illegal fraud, we are making New York’s communities safer and healthier for all.”

The Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, known as I-STOP, is administered by the Department of Health Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. The enhanced prescription monitoring program decreases opportunities for “doctor shoppers” to illegally obtain prescriptions from multiple practitioners and also includes information about dispensed controlled substances reported by pharmacies on a “real time” basis, officials said.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also applauded the program’s effectiveness on Monday. Mr. Schneiderman, who introduced the I-STOP program in 2011 that was unanimously passed by the Legislature a year later, described the system as a national model to deter drug abuse.

“Ending the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that plagues too many New York communities has been a top priority of mine since my first day in office,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release. “Today’s news is a powerful reminder of the important steps we can take to protect New York families when we work together to develop innovative solutions to key challenges.”

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