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Database aims to curb prescription pill abuse

Rochester, N.Y. -- Starting August 27, 2013, all New York State doctors and pharmacists will be required to use a database called the Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing, or I-STOP.

According to Dr. Edward Lewis of Lewis Pediatrics, deaths from prescription drug abuse are on the rise.

Now, before a doctor prescribes an often-abused drug like Oxycotin, Hydrocodone or Adderall, the doctor will search for the patients prescription history using I-STOP. The doctor is looking to make sure the patient has not received a prescription for the same drug from different doctors within a short period of time a practice called doctor shopping.

While doctors say they support the idea behind I-STOP and its noble cause, some have concerns about the system and its implementation.

Dr. Lewis says hes worried that patients who truly need their medication will not get it in a timely manner. Hes also concerned that the added work of searching the I-STOP database will mean less time doctors have to spend with patients.

I think there are a lot of unintended consequences from this, Dr. Lewis said. One being access for patients. It now takes us more time to prepare a prescription.

Dr. Lewis is now asking his patients to call for a prescription refill at least 48 hours in advance.

Dr. Lewis believes that I-STOP would work a lot better if New York state would allow doctors to prescribe medicine electronically.

The implementation of I-STOP also means added work for pharmacists. They are they are the ones who have to input data that shows a certain prescription has been fulfilled. They must submit reports of the certain drugs that have been given to patients each day to the state.

There is just a little bit of extra work now, said Kristin Goold, a pharmacists at Mead Square Pharmacy in Victor. We used to just report monthly to the state, but now we are reporting them daily so that the perscribers are getting more real-time information.

New York is just the second state to require real-time reporting by law. The only other state is Oklahoma.

Goold believes a program like I-STOP was a long time coming and says she doesnt mind the extra work.

This will hopefully be able to cut down [the prescription drug abuse], Goold said. It would also behoove us as practitioners to look back at the patient history to see if something looked inappropriate, take a look at that and report it if it looks suspicious or alert the prescriber.

Angela Hong, 13WHAM-TV
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