Archive for the tag 'prescription drugs'

Source: @Doug88888/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, is encouraging residents with unused or expired prescription drugs to bring them to the 61st Precinct this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for safe disposal.

The precinct, located at 2575 Coney Island Avenue, is a local collection site for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. The initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency. The service is free and anonymous; no questions are asked when you drop off the drugs.

“Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who is at the forefront of the fight to stem the prescription drug abuse epidemic in New York State. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”

Studies show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

In December, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz will preside over a public hearing focusing on prescription painkiller abuse and the availability of treatment services.

Last April, Americans reportedly turned in 371 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds—more than 1,400 tons—of pills.

Source: Redfishingboat (Mick-O) via Flickr

Source: Redfishingboat (Mick-O) via Flickr

The scourge of prescription painkiller abuse across the country continues to rise, and the mayor’s office and the NYPD are instituting a new pilot program in an effort to prevent fatal overdoses. Politicker is reporting that cops in Staten Island, where prescription painkiller abuse is the worst in the city, will be armed with anti-overdose medication to administer to people who are overdosing.

The statistics surrounding prescription pill abuse are alarming. Politicker reported that between 2000 and 2011, overdose deaths linked to prescription painkillers skyrocketed 267 percent, with 190 dying in 2012 alone. The new pilot program is starting in Staten Island because overdoses from the result of prescription painkillers are three times higher than other boroughs. Bloomberg explained the simple of idea behind the program:

We’re trying to give some police officers an antidote for overdose because the cops show up and somebody’s OD’ed … before a doctor can get there or an EMT,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced the plans on his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling. “Sometimes,” he added, “people can die.”…

“They’ve become a substitute for narcotics and it is an enormous problem,” he said, noting cases where people have held up drug stores or held up people leaving drug stores in search of pills.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agreed that arming officers with naloxene, a nasal spray that serves as an anti-overdosing agent, might go a long way to save lives.

“Equipping officers to administer naloxene to overdose victims may mean the difference between life or death for individuals addicted to prescription painkillers.”

Politicker also noted that this latest initiative is part of the city’s greater effort to battle prescription painkiller abuse:

The new program is part of a larger effort by the city, which has been awarded the first grant of its kind from the Department of Justice to continue cracking down on the pills. The city also announced today that 35 hospitals have now adopted the voluntary restrictions limiting the number of opioid painkillers their emergency rooms can prescribe.

Bloomberg’s effort to curtail hospitals from offering too many painkillers was met with controversy as critics worried that it would punish poor and uninsured patients who use the emergency room as their primary care center. Bloomberg countered these arguments in an earlier Politicker report:

“The city hospitals we control, so … we’re going to do it and we’re urging all of the other hospitals to do it, voluntary guidelines. Somebody said, oh, somebody wrote, ‘Oh then maybe there won’t be enough painkillers for the poor who use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor,’” the mayor said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “Number one, there’s no evidence of that. Number two, supposing it is really true, so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit. The other side of the coin is people are dying and there’s nothing perfect … There’s nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer, and it’s always the same group [claiming], ‘Everybody is heartless.’ Come on, this is a very big problem.”…

“We talk about drugs, heroin and crack and marijuana, this is one of the big outbursts–and it’s a lot worse around the country than it is here. It’s kids and adults getting painkillers and using them for entertainment purposes, or whatever field of purposes, as opposed to what they are designed for,” he explained. “If you break a leg, you’re going to be in pain, nothing wrong with getting something that reduces the pain. But if you get 20 days worth of pills and you only need them three days, there’s 17 days sitting there. Invariably some of the kids are going to find them, or you’re going to take them and get you addicted.”

Source: ragesoss/Flickr

Following the news of Wednesday’s $3.4 million prescription drug bust, the Drug Enforcement Agency and NYPD announced another area bust yesterday afternoon involving 11 members of a drug ring that trafficked in prescription painkillers and cocaine in Sheepshead Bay and Staten Island.

After picking up three suspects earlier this year, and aided by a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities unraveled a multi-tier prescription drug and cocaine ring that tied together three separate conspiracies across the two boroughs. Among the 11 arrested, five were residents of the Sheepshead Bay area, and one was supplied by the same allegedly crooked doctor picked up in this week’s other big bust.

“This poly drug trafficking confederation operated like a variety store, selling any type of illicit drug they could get their hands on. The joint task force infiltrated their ranks in order to put them out of business,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Crowell.

Keep reading to find out how the ring operated, and who was busted.

Source: @Doug88888/Flickr

Authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and NYPD busted a trafficking ring accused of setting up phony Sheepshead Bay medical practices to dole out prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, including oxycodone and Xanax.

Following a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities yesterday said they arrested five members of the prescription drug trafficking ring that illegally raked in $3.4 million in bogus prescription drug sales through medical practices they controlled.

Sergey Plotits, 50, of Brightwater Court, was named as the ring leader and charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree and 16 counts of criminal sale of a prescription or controlled substance. According to the indictment, Plotits established medical offices in Sheepshead Bay and nearby neighborhoods for the sole purpose of illegally distributing large quantities of the highly addictive narcotics.

Find out how the ring operated, and why it matters.

Senator Diane Savino. Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons

State Senator Diane Savino, who recently put forward a bill to legalize medical marijuana, is placing heavy pressure on the reluctant Governor Andrew Cuomo to support the bill, according to a report by Capital New York.

Cuomo expressed concerns over the bill during an interview on “The Capital Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter. Despite polls that show a majority of voters in favor of the proposed legislation, Cuomo again expressed fears that such a law would be abused and might spur further recreational use of the drug, though he admitted that his views on the issue were “evolving.”

In an interview, Savino refused to wait for Cuomo’s long brewing evolution on the matter. The state senator urged the governor to reconsider his stance in light of the overwhelming support the public has for the bill both in state and nationally.

“Medical marijuana polls off the charts … in every demographic, every age group,” Capital New York reported Savino saying. “If you look at it purely from the political perspective, we will be close to 20 or 22 states that have adopted a medical marijuana statue [by 2016.]

Savino also argued that safeguards to regulate and protect against abuse of the drug are heavily coded into the proposed law.

According to Savino, Cuomo is “concerned that we’re going to have a scenario like we have in California. That’s a reason to give him a lot of concern.”

Savino said that under California’s medical marijuana program is “everybody can be certified as a patient,” which Cuomo wouldn’t want to be the case in New York.

The state senator is hoping to meet with governor to address all his concerns and is open to making changes that meet his approval. In New Jersey, for example, access to medical marijuana is extremely regulated and restricted, with two-thirds of patients facing long waits to receive their medicine. Savino isn’t looking into making medical marijuana’s potential availability in New York as stringent.

“You don’t want to make it so difficult that people can’t get access to it.”