Consumer campaign advises residents, reveals how insurance fraud spreads addictive pain pills in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (05/14/2018) (readMedia)-- Insurers are alerting New Yorkers how to avoid abusing addictive painkillers and falling victim to dishonest medical providers who make powerful prescription drugs too easily available.

It's a statewide outreach campaign by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud. Addiction and overdoses from prescription painkillers have reached dangerous levels in New York. Illicit profits from insurance scams are placing unneeded pain pills into vulnerable New Yorkers' hands, helping fuel a statewide drug problem.

"Painkiller fraud is a prescription for tragedy," goes the campaign theme. NYAAIF is targeting major cities with television ads, radio spots, billboards and social media. The campaign ads air in New York, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany. They run through June.

"Who thought these small pills could almost destroy my life," a drug victim asks in an NYAAIF television spot. "I went from killing pain to almost killing myself. What I didn't know was insurance fraud made getting these drugs easier."

Watch for pharmacies that fill your prescriptions for fewer than the number of days or pills listed on the prescription, advises a special online report on painkiller fraud. Also, avoid insurance scams that traffic in pain pills. The tempting lure of profits disappears when you're arrested and jailed, NYAAIF's campaign warns.

Use pain pills only how your doctor advises - and lock the pills in a cabinet at home, an NYAAIF consumer podcast also urges New Yorkers. Medical providers and pharmacists are getting rich from illegally providing unneeded painkillers to vulnerable consumers.

More consumer advice and scam alerts will spread virally on NYAAIF's Facebook page and Twitter feed. Arrests and convictions of painkiller offenders also will drive home the consumer messages.

Painkiller fraud costs consumers plus auto, workers comp and health insurers tens of millions of dollars each year in New York, estimates NYAAIF.

"It's a very personal issue. This a very human, human problem with somebody getting overprescribed," NYAAIF chair Jim Potts says in the podcast "That's just a terrible, terrible way to become an addict."

NYAAIF is an alliance of more than 100 insurers in New York that have come together to educate consumers in the state about insurance fraud and its impact in New York.