Citing recent study showing that 91% of opioid overdose victims continue to receive opioid prescriptions, Staten Island Leaders ask State DOH to implement a system alerting doctors that an overdose has occurred
Such a notification system would help doctors make a sound decision whether to prescribe opioid medications to victims of a prior overdose
Staten Island, NY – Staten Island Leaders have written to New York State Department of Health (“State DOH”) Commissioner Howard Zucker requesting that a system be established to track those who have overdosed on opioids, so that doctors will be notified before prescribing opioids to such patients again.
In the letter, Oddo, McMahon, and Cusick volunteered Staten Island as a location for such a pilot program. They cited a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that indicates 91 percent of people who survive prescription opioid overdoses continue to receive opioid prescriptions and that there is currently no system in place to track those who have overdosed and alert doctors so they do not continue to prescribe these drugs to them. The study can be found here: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2479117
In their letter to Commissioner Zucker, dated January 22, 2016, BP Oddo, DA McMahon and Assembly Member Cusick stated:
“This is obviously a large—and potentially—deadly problem. This is particularly true in our community, Staten Island, which has the distinction of being the epicenter of the raging opioid epidemic. Our constituents who have had the good fortune of surviving an opioid overdose need treatment and help so that they can eventually live life opioid free. This study seems to indicate that instead of getting this help, many use unwitting doctors to continue to use drugs that almost killed them.
“We are writing to ask whether the DOH plans on implementing such a mechanism to alert physicians that a patient has overdosed on opioids. Having this information would obviously be of great help and could help get more opioid addicted individuals into the treatment they so desperately need.”
“We are seeking to tackle this problem from all angles,” said Borough President Oddo. “With the I-Stop law, championed by Assemblyman Cusick and Senator Lanza, physicians were given the tools to prevent doctor shopping. We are now seeking a mechanism to ensure that doctors will be made aware that a patient has overdosed on opioids when they seeking a prescription for these drugs. I am hopeful State DOH will work with us to bring such a system online in Staten Island.”
“If our doctors are armed with more information about their patients, they can prevent that access of prescription drugs to those users who have previously overdosed. That will both stem criminal drug use from occurring and, more significantly, save the lives of those users already at risk of again harming themselves,” said DA McMahon. “The drug scourge that is ravaging our borough needs to be addressed from all sides, and I am happy to team up with Borough President Oddo and Assemblyman Cusick to implore the state Department of Health to bring such resourceful tracking tool to Staten Island.”
Assemblyman Cusick said, “As we continue to grapple with the opioid abuse epidemic plaguing our community it is imperative that we continue to find ways to make sure people at risk do not fall into the abyss of addiction. The alarming reality that 9 in 10 patients who overdose continue to receive the same opioid prescription simply cannot continue. I look forward to working with Borough President Oddo, District Attorney McMahon, and the Department of Health to figure out how to make sure overdoses are not ignored, but rather treated as a wake-up call and addressed by physicians & patients alike.”