NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Monday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will aid the state in fighting prescription drug abuse.

The new law, known as I-STOP, includes provisions to overhaul the distribution and tracking of prescription drugs in the state through a real-time prescription monitoring registry and enhanced information to pharmacists and practitioners.

Other provisions include requiring the Department of Health to establish a safe disposal program for unused medications, public awareness measures regarding prescription drugs and pain management, enlisting a workgroup of stakeholders with the responsibility to guide the development of medical education courses, improving safeguards for distributing prescription drugs that are prone to abuse, and requiring all prescriptions to be electronically transmitted.

"I-STOP will be a national model for smart, coordinated communication between health care providers and law enforcement to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help," Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman says the new law will update and modernize the Prescription Monitoring Program, make New York one of the first states to move from paper prescriptions to mandatory electronic prescribing, remove hydrocodone from Schedule III and place it on Schedule II to eliminate automatic refills and limit the amount prescribed, increase education amongst health care providers about the potential for abuse, and create a program to safely dispose of unused controlled substances.

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