Grimm Announces Prescription Drug Abuse bill

Two Brooklyn congressmembers are hoping to combat the growingproblem of prescription drug abuse through legislation that wouldmandate a secure online registry whose purpose is to preventpharmacy shopping as well as the use of stolen prescription padsto stock up on controlled substances such as OxyContin andVicodin.</p

We’re here to discuss a growing problem that’s grown into anepidemic – the abuse of prescription drugs – typically painkillers, said Congressmember Michael Grimm, who held a pressconference on Monday to announce the Fraudulent PrescriptionProtection Act, which he is sponsoring with another Brooklynlegislator, Congressmember Edolphus Towns.</p

It’s completely out of control and the fatality rate is going tocontinue to grow if we don’t do something, said Grimm.</p

The bipartisan bill would establish a database where physicians andpharmacists would be required to register and verify prescriptionsissued to patients, which could be done in real time.</p

This legislation is a commonsense solution, said Grimm. There’sa lot of work to be done, but this is the first step.</p

William Fusco, executive director for Dynamic Youth Community, anoutpatient drug clinic, testified to the growth in the number ofaddicts seeking help through his organization. I have seen anincrease from 20 to 80 percent in substance abuse treatment in ourcenter, said Fusco, with opium being the most common addictionamong the young.</p

Prescription medications derived from opium include morphine,codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl and meperidine- all of which are used to treat different levels of pain.</p

Addiction to painkillers is insidious, Grimm added, because it’sdifficult for other people, including parents, to detect.</p

Why? Because there’s no stigma attached. They’re not sticking aneedle in their arm. They’re not smoking a pipe. There’s nothing ontheir breath for their parents to smell, said Grimm. There’soften no pattern for parents to know about. They don’t even realizethey have an old prescription in their medicine cabinet from fiveor six months ago, and they don’t realize their son or daughter aretaking these pills.</p

Grimm urged those who have old prescriptions in their medicinecabinets to clear them out, avoiding future or further addiction aswell as a possible overdose, which can lead to death.</p

The press conference was held in front of the Bay Ridge’s BridgePharmacy, at 8912 Third Avenue.

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