During its first three days of operation (Aug. 24-26), New York State’s I-STOP (internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing) system caught 200 cases of apparent doctor shopping by patients who visit numerous doctors in attempts to obtain multiple prescriptions for painkillers.
New York is the first state to mandate that doctors must consult a patient’s prescription history before prescribing opioid pain pills such as oxycodone and hydrocodone in an attempt to cut down on the substance abuse, which has not only resulted in an increase of overdoses, but has been the catalyst for a rise in crime.
Among the most infamous events was the June 19, 2011 shooting deaths of four people during a robbery at Haven Drugs, a Medford (Long Island) pharmacy by David Laffer and his wife Melinda Brady. The couple, which stole thousands of pills at the time, were found to have also filled prescriptions for more than 11,881 pain pills from dozens of doctors during over four years prior to the Medford shootings.
Another major event involved the (accidental) shooting, which killed John Capano, a agent for the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms by a retired Nassau County police office on December 31, 2012. Capano was struggling with a perp who had just robbed a Seaford, NY pharmacy of pain pills when he was gunned down.
First signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 27, 2012, I-STOP did not officially become operational until last week, when 16,352 healthcare providers and pharmacies began using the online system to track prescription pill abuse statewide.
The system, championed by NY State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, includes changes in the way New York distributes and tracks prescription opiods, including a requirement that all prescriptions be sent electronically to drugstores by March 2015, and reclassifying hydrocodone to make it harder to get.