Establishes the class B felony of criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist.
Ayes (60): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Excused (1): McDonald
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class B felony of criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would create a new crime to address that small group of practitioners and pharmacists who operate pill mills or fill prescriptions for controlled substance medications (such as pain medications) other than in good faith in the course of their practice.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill adds a new section 220.66 to the penal law defining a new crime of "Criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist." The language makes clear that the practitioner or pharmacists must act "other than in good faith in the course of his or her professional practice" to be guilty of the crime.
Section 2 of the bill provides for an effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Overdose deaths from prescription pain killers have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. In fact, according to a recent report of the Center for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC), more people die from prescription drug overdoses than heroin or cocaine combined. In New York City alone, drug related ER visits increased 40% between 2004 and 2009, and fatalities from opioid overdoses increased by 20% between 2004 and 2009. In addition to the overdoses, the opioid abuse epidemic results in expenditure of enormous law enforcement and addiction treatment resources, not to mention the pain and suffering of the families affected by the addiction. Dr. Shah, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Health was recently quoted as saying "Crimes involving the illegal distribution of prescription drugs are a serious threat to the public's health and safety and must be addressed with every tool at government's disposal." This bill represents one of those tools that should be available to combat New York's prescription drug abuse epidemic.
New York already has a provision in the penal law that deals with physicians illegally prescribing controlled substances. That statute was recently used to indict Dr. Li who, according to reports, was running a pain clinic in Queens on the weekends where "patients" lined up before the doors opened. Dr. Li saw as many as 120 "patients" a day at the clinic, which had been operating since January 2009. While the indictment of Dr. Li relates to one patient, Michael Cornetta (who ultimately died of an overdose), it is believed as many as 9 people may have died as a result of his illegal prescribing. Dr. Li also reportedly prescribed more than 2,500 pain pills to the gunman who killed 4 people in a Medford, Long Island Pharmacy (and stole 10,000 hydrocodone pills) in June 2011.
New York currently lacks a similar provision in the penal law to address that small but often active group of practitioners and pharmacists who illegally and knowingly dispense the controlled substances. This bill fills that hole by creating in the penal law the crime of "criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist." It is one of those important tools needed in New York to address this growing problem.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: November 1, next succeeding the date upon which it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6066 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 4, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. HANNON, SALAND, DeFRANCISCO, FUSCHILLO, GALLIVAN, JOHNSON, LAVALLE, RANZENHOFER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to establishing the class B felony of criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 220.66 to read as follows: S 220.66 CRIMINAL SALE OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE BY A PRACTITIONER OR PHARMACIST. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF CRIMINAL SALE OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE BY A PRACTITIONER OR PHARMACIST WHEN, BEING A PRACTITIONER OR PHARMACIST, AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION THIRTY-THREE HUNDRED TWO OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, OR A PHARMACY INTERN ACTING IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION SIXTY-EIGHT HUNDRED SIX OF THE EDUCATION LAW AND ANY REGULATIONS ADOPTED PURSUANT THERETO IN A REGISTERED PHARMACY, HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY AND UNLAWFULLY SELLS A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A PERSON SELLS A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE UNLAW- FULLY WHEN HE OR SHE DOES SO OTHER THAN IN GOOD FAITH IN THE COURSE OF HIS OR HER PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE. CRIMINAL SALE OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE BY A PRACTITIONER OR PHARMA- CIST IS A CLASS B FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13710-02-2