prescription drugs

Lorraine Rapp / WRVO

This forum aired on Sunday, July 20 at 7 p.m.

Heroin is the latest illegal drug to become a scourge on communities in upstate New York and throughout the nation -- and it feels like it happened overnight.

What is causing this rise in heroin abuse? In part in can be linked to widespread abuse of painkillers and an effort to clamp down on them. Who is using it and how does it affect those who use it? Whether it's actor Philip Seymour Hoffman or SUNY Oswego students, heroin is impacting a wide range of socioeconomic groups.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With heroin abuse raging among young adults and in rural communities, New York's senior senator is calling for a new state-wide database to be created so local law enforcement agencies can better track the drug's use.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says a database for heroin hospitalizations and arrests would be the first in the nation. 

"The problem is that the increase in heroin abuse - it was going down for a long time, now it’s going up - so we have to catch up," Schumer told reporters Wednesday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is firing another salvo in the war against prescription drug abuse. He's proposing that the Drug Enforcement Administration ease restrictions that make it harder for pharmacies to let people bring in controlled substances for disposal.

It's a problem that's getting worse in upstate New York, according to Michelle Caliva, director of the Upstate Poison Control Center. She's looked at the number of calls involving abuse of prescription pain killers over the last decade.

VCU Libraries / Flickr

Prescription drugs can be helpful to those that need them. But for others they can be dangerous or even deadly. This week on “Take Care,” we talk to New York State Assemblyman Michael Cusick, the lead sponsor behind a piece of legislation called I-STOP, or Internet System for Tracking Over Prescribing, which is intended to serve as a national model to end prescription painkiller abuse.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Assemblyman Cusick.

The I-STOP law: a doctor worries for his patients

Aug 25, 2013
Shawn Honnick / Flickr

The new I-STOP law passed by the New York State Legislature is aimed at reducing the amount of overdoses on prescription painkillers; although some groups worry it might do more harm than good. This week on “Take Care,” we talk to Dr. Joseph Navone, president of the Upstate New York Society of Medical Oncology and Hematology, a group that specializes in pain and pain relief for patients.

Click 'Read More' to hear out interview with Dr. Joseph Navone.

The tragedies caused by prescription drug abuse, addictions, overdoses and ruined lives are not unique to New York state, but Assemblyman Michael Cusick realized a couple years ago that Staten Island, where his district is located, could be considered the epicenter of the problem.

“We have numbers that are staggering of people overdosing from prescription drugs and the theft of prescription drugs," Cusick said. "The misuse is rampant here on Staten Island."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is continuing his assault on the misuse of prescription drugs with a proposal to tighten control over the painkiller hydrocodone.

bradleypjohnson / Flickr

New York state lawmakers have approved legislation requiring doctors to issue drug prescriptions electronically within three years.