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From the desk of Senator Kemp Hannon: July 3, 2012

“Prescription drug abuse is a growing crisis in this state and nation,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “We’ve seen armed violence, deaths by overdose and suicide, and increasing rates of addiction.”

While New York State has a pre-eminent program for combating prescription theft and forgery, current penal laws are not sufficient to deter the theft, possession and sale of blank official prescription forms. Current law forces authorities to wait until someone sells a stolen prescription form before law enforcement can act.

“My legislation will close this loophole in three specific situations,” said Hannon. “First – grand larceny, a class E felony, will punish someone who steals a blank prescription form. Second – criminal possession of stolen property, also a class E felony – occurs when someone possesses a blank prescription form, knowing it is stolen and intending to benefit from it. Third – criminal possession of a prescription form, a class A misdemeanor – punishes someone who knowingly and unlawfully possesses a blank official New York State prescription form.”

These changes are necessary to combat the criminal diversion of prescription drugs, which feeds addictions, increases overdose and suicide rates, and fuels profits for drug dealers and other criminals.

“With the one-year anniversary of the tragic deaths at the Medford pharmacy and recent action on the state level to combat prescription drug abuse and death,” said Hannon, “we must use every tool at our disposal to protect lives and aid law enforcement in the prosecution of those who possess and intend to use stolen prescription forms.”

This bill has been sent to the Assembly.