NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — An Oxycodone epidemic is running rampant through New York State, according to State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Former addicts told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan on Wednesday that their lives used to revolve around chasing the high from the prescription painkiller.
“Like no experience I never felt before, I constantly tried to chase that, to recapture that high,” Raymond Broccoli said.
“My life revolved around trying to get high, and I would do anything at the time to do it,” added Brian Gillam, another former addict.
Both men are now drug abuse counselors at Phoenix House. They said they understand the desperation.
The latest statistics are staggering: New York’s pill-popping epidemic has reached crisis proportions. Narcotic painkiller prescriptions are up 36 percent, and Oxycodone prescriptions are up 82 percent.
“Prescription drugs are permeating our society. It’s also something we have the ability to control,” Schneiderman said.
There have also been concerns raised about “Doctor shopping” following David Laffer’s murder spree inside a Medford drug store last Father’s Day, and the recent shooting death of an ATF agent during a Seaford pharmacy robbery attempt.
Jeffery Reynolds of the Long Island Council on Drug Dependence said that the epidemic is getting out of control.
“It is among the worst public health crises that Long Island has ever faced, and the body count is increasing by the day,” Reynolds said.
Overdose-related hospitalizations are swiftly on the rise. Admissions in Nassau county rose 57 percent and 40 percent in Suffolk County.
Attorney General Schneiderman wants immediate online real-time tracking that would require physicians and pharmacists to report and review a patient’s history prior to prescribing and distributing a controlled substance.
“In that instant we could immediately know if there is any kind of doctor shopping going on or whether there is duplicate therapy,” said Joanne Hoffman of the Long Island Pharmacists Society.
One doctor said he won’t prescribe the drugs without checking a patient in the database.
“If you are prescribing these narcotics and you don’t have the time (to check) don’t prescribe them,” said Dr Thomas Jan.
Experts want to strengthen the narcotic database and go after the bad doctors. They also want to make treatment available for addicts before they become desperate and violent.
What do you think of the prescription drug abuse epidemic? And what can be done to stop it? Leave your comments below.