Lawmakers tackling prescription abuse

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — State lawmakers are taking steps to curb prescription drugs abuse.

It is still too soon to say what will shake out as actual law in the state, but Democrats and Republicans in Albany are clearly trying to slow down pain pill abuse.

Pharmacists Association of Western New York Executive Director Dennis Galluzzo is responding to news that the State Senate passed a series of bills on Monday. One will put prescription pain pills like hydrocodone and Tramadol in a higher schedule, so most patients couldn't get more than a 30 day supply. Another would make it a Class B Felony for a pharmacist to unlawfully provide a controlled substance.

Galluzzo says he'd rather see better monitoring by doctors.

"We're kind of like giving a knee jerk reaction. When people have pain they naturally will develop tolerance to these medications and many will become addicted. There's where we have to stop," he said.

But he also says the State Attorney General's I-Stop proposal to create a real-time data base still isn't enough.

"The system would be overly burdensome to both the pharmacist and the prescriber and it really doesn't give the information on a feedback system that they need. It's only registering what the patient is doing. We need real-time data feedback and we can do that through the electric systems that we have today. It just needs to be implemented," he argued.

Chris is only 18-years-old and is undergoing treatment for pain pill addiction at Renaissance Campus. He thinks most of the pills out there are obtained legally.

"A lot of my friends would tell me when they got their wisdom teeth pulled, they'd go to a certain doctor because this doctor gave more medication. Some people would say if you go this doctor and say that your back hurts, you could get so much pills," recounted Chris.

At least 95 percent of the young clients at Renaissance Campus have used prescription pain pills and an Erie County Sheriff official tells News 4 they are seeing more pill arrests than cocaine or marijuana.

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Democrat Andrew Cuomo is Governor of New York.  Two Democrats represent NYS in the U.S. Senate, and NY has 29 representatives in the U.S. House: 21 Democrats and 8 Republicans.
 
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