WOODBURY - The growing problem of addiction to prescription drugs on Long Island is shedding light on the roles that doctors and pharmacists play in the crisis.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, says the majority of doctors are only too willing to write prescriptions for powerful pain medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and Vicodin.

A recovering addict who introduced himself as "Mike" says all he had to do to obtain painkillers is to tell his doctor that his back hurts from the accident he was in.

Even physicians such as Dr. Ronald Klein, of Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, admit that some of their colleagues can be too quick to prescribe too many pills at high doses without checking if the patient has a drug abuse problem.

The state attorney general's office has proposed an online database called I-STOP that would track all prescriptions of dangerous drugs.

However, critics wonder whether the law would be adequately enforced and if determined addicts would find a way to circumvent the system.

If the I-STOP proposal becomes law, it would require doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement officials to complete continuing education programs on how to effectively use the new system.

For an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.

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