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Larissa Doucette

Since the implementation of New York state’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP) in August 2013, “doctor shopping” – when patients visit multiple doctors to obtain controlled substance medications – has been reduced by 75%, reports the New York Health Commissioner. I-STOP required the establishment of a real-time prescription monitoring program (PMP). “Starting in August 2013, doctors are required under the law to consult that database before writing any prescriptions for a Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance, including narcotic painkillers,” indicates a press release from the state’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. In addition to targeting prescription drug abuse, I-STOP aims to assist “doctors and pharmacists to provide prescription pain medications, and other controlled substances, to patients who truly need them.” More than 66,000 providers have checked the system before prescribing or dispensing medications.

Additional I-STOP provisions established safe disposal programs, providing New Yorkers with a safe method of disposing of expired, unwanted, or unneeded medications. A list of permanent drop box locations can currently be accessed on the New York Department of Health website and on the New York Get Local page of the AWARXE® website. The Get Local section of the AWARXE site provides medication disposal information for each state, including permanent prescription drug disposal drop boxes, many of which are able to collect controlled substances.