ALBANY, N.Y.. (Legal Newsline) – Almost three months ago, Legal Newsline sent requests about regulation and enforcement of narcotics laws to the New York Department of Health under a state freedom of information law that requires a response in less than a week.
There has been not a peep from the health department.
Legal Newsline's Freedom of Information Act Desk emailed all four requests for New York Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement records to the state Department of Health's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)'s email address for such requests the afternoon of Nov. 20.
All four requests referred to FOIL and the law's required response time of five days. All four requests said that if access to the records would take longer than five days, to "please" provide information about when the records would be provided.
"If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exception you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law," all four requests said.
Under FOIL, anyone can request records from state agencies and can expect a response in five days.
One on the Legal Newsline FOIL requests concerned the New York State Bureau of Narcotics enforcement regulations. That request was for a categorized accounting "of any and all rulemaking, guidance, directives and definitions issued to state licensed pharmacies and wholesale pharmaceutical distributors" by the bureau from 2007 to 2017. The request specified regulations "involving the identification of suspicious orders of prescription opioids, including hyrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl by pharmacy registrants and wholesale distributor registrants."
Another FOIL request concerned the bureau's registrations. That request was for a categorized accounting over the same time period and for the same drugs "for any and all registrations granted" by the bureau "to manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes and medical professionals."
Another FOIL request concerned the bureau's "suspicious order reports" for the same time period and drugs. That request was for "any and all suspicious order reports by state-licensed wholesale pharmaceutical distributors, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics" prescription of opioids.
A final FOIL request concerned the bureau's "revocation of licenses or other administrative actions" during that time period and about the same drugs.