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Editorial 6/8/2012
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presented by Peter Kohler

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.

Read the Full Suffolk County Supreme Court Special Grand Jury Report
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman proposes a modernization of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program
Apr 10, 2012
First, do no harm. It’s an ancient rule of medicine, tested as never before, by the growing use of prescription drugs that promise effective pain relief but at the risk of ruinous drug addiction. Terri Kroll–whose son, Tim, died from an overdose–knows this all too well. As she told News 12: “There were a lot of suicide attempts. He knew he was wrong, he knew he made a big mistake. But he couldn’t turn himself around…”
Feb 10, 2012
Recently, Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota told how a little boy traveling to a Christmas tree farm became the victim of a drugged driver. “Here’s a young kid, a 5-year-old kid that’s going to pick up a Christmas tree, go home and decorate it, and he’s dead,” Spota said…
Jan 13, 2012
Sometimes statistics tell the story. In New York in just three years, prescriptions for oxycodone skyrocketed by 82 percent. So says Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In a report, he rightly calls the abuse of opiate painkillers an epidemic…
Nov 25, 2011
Give credit to Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota for calling for a special grand jury to look into the deadly doctor shopping that led to the massacre in Medford. This week it was revealed that at least one doctor may have been criminally complicit in feeding the prescription drug habit that brought David Laffer and his wife to a Medford drug store where Laffer killed four people, all to steal more pills…
Aug 19, 2011
It takes just a few phone calls to find all the painkillers you want. “The most it takes to find any drug, the longest it will take you is three phone calls.” That’s what a recovering addict, Jenna Montalbano, told a News 12 reporter this week in stories revealing an epidemic of drug abuse involving prescription painkillers…
Jun. 24, 2011
An angry grandmother went to David Laffer’s home to denounce the suspect charged in the murder of four people at Haven Drugs in Medford. “You’re the devil and God always wins out,” said Pat Moran…