New York Governor Andrew Cuomo struck a deal with legislative leaders on enhanced prescription-drug tracking to improve distribution controls and curb abuse.
The measure will make New York one of the first U.S. states to require the use of an electronic system to prescribe almost all controlled substances, helping physicians and pharmacists to identify patients who try to see multiple doctors to get the same drug, according to a statement today from Cuomo’s office.
“This landmark agreement will help put a stop to the growing number of fatalities resulting from overdoses,” Cuomo said in the statement. “We have seen too many untimely deaths as a result of prescription drug abuse,” he said. “Enough is enough.”
Painkillers lead to almost 15,000 overdose deaths each year, according to the statement, which cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Prescription-drug abuse has helped make poisoning the leading accidental killer in the U.S., topping deaths caused by both cocaine and heroin, according to a report released last month by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
From Washington to Maine, states have passed or are considering steps to tighten prescription-drug regulation. In New York, the electronic prescription-monitoring system will help prevent drug trafficking by providing access to updated patient records, according to the statement. Currently, doctors must report certain prescriptions to the state within 45 days.