They came to Albany to tell powerful stories about the human toll of prescription drug abuse on Long Island.
A mother told how her son died of an overdose; a druggist talked about phony prescriptions he has seen; a young woman spoke of her own addiction:
“I was doctor shopping,” said recovering addict Jenna Montalbano. “I was getting other prescriptions and no one said no. Not one doctor.”
No doubt their stories helped Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders agree on measures to defeat doctor shopping. Their deal should produce laws requiring doctors and pharmacists to track addictive prescription painkillers electronically in real time.
But as this week’s arrests of two Long Island doctors on drug dealing charges underscores, the medical profession as a whole has been oblivious to an epidemic that’s largely of its making.
So says a recent report from a special Suffolk County Grand Jury. As DA Tom Spota bluntly put it, the genesis of the prescription pill epidemic should be laid “squarely at the feet of the medical establishment.”
So while legislation to check doctor shopping is urgently needed, the larger challenge–over-prescribing painkillers–will require a change in attitude by medical professions, and those who market and regulate addictive substances to relieve pain.