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Rochester, N.Y. - Starting Saturday, prescription pain medication will be harder to get in New York. A provision of the state's I-STOP law goes into effect requiring patients to visit a doctor every time they need refills of hydrocodone.
The law is intended to curb abuse of the drug, also sold under the brand name Vicodin. It can be an addictive drug. Some people visit multiple doctors for prescriptions for themselves or to sell on the street. The Journal of American Medical Association reported hydrocodone was responsible for the largest number of drug overdose deaths in 2010 in the U.S.
Many people use hydrocodone for long term pain management. David Bastian, of Webster, has a bad back after years of working in a factory warehouse.
"My pain level can go to the point where I don't want to get up and move," Bastian said. "The hydrocodone will take the pain away."
Bastian said his doctor already closely monitors his use of pain pills, of which he takes up to six a day.
"At this point you've got to make sure you've got enough pain medicine to cover through that time period to get to the doctors office get the script and take it in," he said. "Hopefully, you're not in too much pain that you can't get up and get out."
Pharmacists at Sidney Hillman in Rochester want to make sure their patients know about the new law.
"It's going to be tough for those that are on the medication long term and have to go see their doctor instead of coming to get a refill" said pharmacist Tom Edwards.
The I-STOP law will also create a prescription database to prevent doctor shopping.