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Debate over Assembly Bill Spurs Dozens of Families to Protest | Health

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Debate over Assembly Bill Spurs Dozens of Families to Protest
Health, News, Politics
Debate over Assembly Bill Spurs Dozens of Families to Protest


Tuesday, May 9, 2015 marks the final days of the current New York State Assembly session during which critical legislation impacting all New Yorkers will be determined. One issue being considered by the Assembly is mandated physician education in responsible prescription practice for opiate pain medication, and recognition and treatment of addiction to pain killers.

Already passed in the State Senate, Bill A.355 would require board-certified physicians to participate in three hours of training every two years as part of their already legislated continuing education requirements. The language of the bill authorizes the commissioner of health to establish, review and implement best-practice requirements for the performance of continuing medical education on pain management and palliative care and addiction in New York State.

In response to the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic in New York State, supporters determined that educated, common-sense practice by physicians could seriously curb the resulting addictions to the opiate medications they prescribe. Similar in chemical formulation to heroin, drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone frequently become a gateway to heroin use. In 2014, there were over 2,000 deaths from opiate overdose in New York State alone. Deaths specifically from heroin overdose increased 122% during the same time period. Many who become addicted to opiates have been prescribed legal medications for long-term pain management, and shift to heroin as a cheaper, more readily available alternative during active addiction. Scientists are now re-evaluating the effectiveness of opiates for pain management, and studies are indicating that some people shouldn't be prescribed opiates at all.

Among the most addictive substances available, 80% of opiates in the world are consumed by Americans. One obvious way to stem these addictions, which at the least are life-damaging, and at the worst deadly, is to ensure that doctors are trained about the impact opiate medication has on the human body, and the addictive nature of the drugs. Many in the New York State Assembly agree. A few, citing an unwillingness by some in the medical community to have their training determined by the health commissioner, have blocked Bill A.355 from the floor where it would be voted on.

On Tuesday, May 9, not-for-profit drug awareness group Save the Michaels of the World will be taking the fight for a vote on A.355 to Albany. Sponsored by Horizon Health Services, STMOTW will transport dozens of Western New York families to the state capital, determined to make their voice for responsible medical training heard above the politics and financial influence of the medical lobby and large pharmaceutical companies.

For more information on A.355, or to reserve your seat on the Save the Michaels Rally Bus, visit STMOTW on Facebook or call (716) 984-8375.




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