With State Senator Tim Kennedy Behind Them, The “Save the Michaels of the World” Advocacy Group Tries To Reform New York State’s Prescription Drug Laws (Part 1)
This is Part Two of a Two Part Series About the “Save The Michaels of the World” Advocacy Group and their prescription drug laws reform initiatives to improve addiction training for health providers, create a National Controlled Substance Registry, and allow for Patient Information to be freely shared among such providers to present prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping.
Proactive Efforts of Save The Michaels Of The World
As expressed before, ONE80CENTER has been raising the alarm about the growing prescription drug epidemic for several years. Our clinical staff supports the new laws being presented in the New York State Legislature by State Senator Tim Kennedy and the Save The Michaels of the World Advocacy Group. Founded in Buffalo, Save the Michaels of the World are doing so much more than talk. After losing children to prescription drug addiction, they are using the influence of families and the rawness of true grief to take action to make sure more parents do not suffer such devastating losses from prescription drug abuse.
Michael Israel’s story is heartbreaking and becoming more and more common in this day and age. Suffering from Crohn’s Disease, a condition that was diagnosed when he was just a child, Michael experienced serious difficulties when he transitioned to the adult health care system. Several attending physicians and medical specialists prescribed him numerous controlled substances. Due to a lack of training in addiction medicine and an absence of coordinated care, including timely communication among health care professionals, Michael became addicted to prescription painkillers. Losing hope of ever recovering his health or overcoming his addiction to the painkillers, Michael took his own life when he was only twenty years old. His death was preventable if there has been proper communication between his health providers.
Reforming New York Prescription Drug Laws
Here is a link to the New York State Senate Press Release by Senator Kennedy about the visit and the laws that included the following:
In response to Michael’s death, his family is taking proactive action. In addition to promoting Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s I-STOP legislation (S.5720/A.8320) in New York State, Save the Michaels of the World has been advocating for four bills that have been named for Michael Israel. The Michael David Israel Laws – which are sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tim Kennedy and in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes – include:
1) Patient Information Act (S.6179/A. 9097): Requires disclosure of addiction risks for certain prescription drugs; requires physicians, nurses and pharmacists to provide information on prevention, mitigation and treatment of prescription drug addiction.
2) Physician Training Law (S.6180/S.9102): Relates to continuing medical education requirements for doctors, nurses and pharmacists; requires three hours of training on the prevention, treatment and mitigation of opiate analgesics and psychotropic drug addiction.
3) Addiction Transition Law (S.6181/A.9093): Requires the Department of Health to draft guidelines for the transition of patients from substances with a high risk of addiction to those with a low risk.
4) Controlled Substance Registry Reform Act (S.5049A/A.9121): Requires practitioners to check the controlled substance abuse registry before prescribing painkillers and directs the commissioner of public health to establish an enforcement system.
Supported by Kennedy, Avi Israel was impressed by the response of the politicians in Albany: “It was more than what we expected. On just our first trip, we met with many important lawmakers, several important committee chairmen – leaders whose support will be critical to our efforts… Everyone was sympathetic to our cause. Everyone understood the urgency of this issue, and everyone promised that something will be done this year, in this session. This is just the first of many trips, since we will not stop until Albany takes action.”
Senator Kennedy expressed the importance of the new laws: “Far too many families have endured tragedies as a result of prescription drug addiction. It’s absolutely urgent that we address this issue this year… Save the Michaels of the World has been relentlessly advocating for reform to end prescription drug abuse, and we’ve been proud to stand with them in this fight. There is a lot of work to do, and Avi and Julie Israel have gotten us off to a great start as we push forward with our efforts.”
ONE80CENTER agrees with Senator Kennedy that it is a great start, but so much more needs to be done on a national level. The Save the Michaels of the World Advocacy Group hopefully will open the door for parents across the country. Action must be taken to reform the Prescription Drug Laws by appealing to both state and federal government representatives. The Michael David Israel Laws in New York State are a powerful step in the right direction that could truly help halt the prescription drug plague that is spreading across all sectors of the American landscape. But first the new prescription drug laws need to be passed in New York, in states across the country, and eventually on a national level.