Tuesday, February 14, 2012
SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO CURB ILLEGAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
Abuse and misuse of prescription narcotics continues to rise, and the State Senate took action Monday by passing several bills to control it.
Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – 57th District) co-sponsored the group of bills which will implement greater controls on Hydrocodone and Tramadol, which are highly-addictive prescription pain medications, and will make it a crime in the first-degree to illegally sell a controlled substance to a minor under the age of 14.
“The number of prescriptions for these painkillers, deaths from overdoses, and pharmacy robberies by addicts has increased significantly in recent years. Among the most abused drugs, prescription pain medications are second only to marijuana, and part of the new legislation toughens the existing penalties for those possessing a large quantity of these medications,” Senator Young said.
“Further, we need to protect our youths who start experimenting with these dangerous drugs, even in their teens. The use of these addicting prescription drugs and opiate-based medications is skyrocketing among children, and this bill will punish criminals who profit from the sale to our young people,” Senator Young added.
Additional legislation passed in the Senate increases criminal penalties for physicians and pharmacists who illegally aid in the sale of prescription drugs that are stashed, collected and resold to pharmacies or shipped overseas. Senate Bill 6066 also closes a loophole in New York State’s law by criminalizing “pill mills,” or the illegal sale of controlled substances by a practitioners or pharmacists.
“Often, individuals buy medications, stockpile them and sell them overseas or to unsuspecting pharmacies that are unaware of their origin.
Many practitioners and pharmacists also illegally prescribe pain pills, furthering drug addiction and overdose. These bills create stronger tools for law enforcement to fight the growing epidemic,” Senator Young said.
“The Senate also passed a bill that increases the transparency and efficiency of decisions concerning Medicaid fraud and abuse by requiring the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General to post all administrative law decisions on their website within 30 days of its determining a conclusion.
It allows interested parties to access information that is already public record,” she said.
“Illegal prescription drug abuse has resulted in the destruction of countless lives. Others have committed heinous crimes to obtain these pills, including brutal murders and robberies. In one instance, an addict shot four people and stole approximately 10,000 Hydrocodone pills. This has to stop. By approving of the bills sponsored by Senator Hannon and Senator Martins, we are working to update our laws to thwart further tragedies from occurring and to prevent the commission of horrible crimes and acts of violence,” Senator Young said.