Staten Islanders Apparently Love Prescription Drugs
That's according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who says the prescription drug abuse problem -- particularly with pain killers like hydrocodone -- in Staten Island has now achieved "crisis" status, as deaths from accidental overdoses has jumped nearly 150 percent since 2005.
"The prescription drug crisis on Staten Island has reached epidemic proportions, and it's time to take action before another tragedy strikes," Schneiderman says.
To combat the problem, Schneiderman's pimping his I-STOP (Internet Systems for Tracking Over-Prescribing) plan, a proposed online database for prescription drugs that he says will crack down on "doc-shopping" and forged prescriptions by giving pharmacists the technology to track prescription drugs in real time over the Internet.
He says a "real time system to streamline communication between health care providers and pharmacists" is essential to putting an end to prescription drug trafficking.
Prescription drug abuse is up across the entire state, but Staten Island has been hit particularly hard. According to Schneiderman, of the five New York City neighborhoods with the highest per capita rates of prescriptions filled for narcotic painkillers, four of them are on Staten Island, where accidental prescription drug overdoses has gone from three per 100,000 people in 2005 to 7.4 per 100,000 people in 2009.Schneiderman's I-STOP plan has been introduced as a bill into both house of the New York Legislature -- by Assemblyman Michael Cusick, and state Senator Andrew Lanza, both of whom are from Staten Island. Click here to read a summary of the bill.