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Posted: 8/13/2005 6:30:09 PM EDT
ush signs bill creating electronic prescription monitoring

JONATHAN M. KATZ
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Bush signed into law a bill to create electronic monitoring programs to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs in all 50 states.

The new law creates a grant program for states to create databases and enhance existing ones in hopes of ending the practice of "doctor shopping" by drug abusers seeking multiple prescriptions. It would authorize $60 million for the program through fiscal 2010.

The bill, signed late Thursday at the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch, was sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Republican representing Kentucky's 1st District.

Kentucky's existing electronic prescription monitoring database, called KASPER - Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting - would be eligible for enhancement grants under the bill. Establishing programs in adjacent states would help prevent abusers from crossing borders to get prescription drugs and then bring them back into Kentucky.

"It's going to be a tremendous boost (for the Kentucky program) and be much more effective," Whitfield told The Associated Press.

A July letter from the American Medical Association in support of the bill called prescription drug abuse "one of the fastest growing public health problems" in the United States. The letter cited a 2002 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey that estimated there were 6.2 million recreational prescription drugs users then.

The bill passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent in July.

Robert Benvenuti, inspector general of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said he hadn't seen full details of the new law yet. However, Benvenuti said he thought it was going to "be very positive" for Kentucky.

"If all states had the ability to tap into each others' information we would know that that person is doctor shopping," Benvenuti said. "It will allow states to see not only what's going on in their states but what's going on in other states."

Nineteen states have existing programs that vary in effectiveness, Whitfield said. Illinois, which borders his western Kentucky district, has a program that only tracks Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine and oxycodone, leaving drugs such as codeine and the brand names Vicodin and Valium unreported, said John Halliwell, Whitfield's legislative director.

Neighboring Tennessee and Indiana do not yet have such programs, Halliwell said.

Some federal money has been appropriated for state monitoring programs in the past on a limited basis. Those grants were administered by the Department of Justice, but this law will place the program under the Department of Health and Human Services instead.

"This is a health problem, and the Department of Health and Human Services is the most logical place to run a prescription drug program," Whitfield said.

Some in Congress worry the law will invade privacy. "This bill lacks fundamental privacy protections, such as notifying patients if their information has been lost or stolen," said Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, whose amendment to add that notification to the bill was defeated in committee. "The lack of such safeguards virtually guarantees that this well-meaning effort to combat drug abuse will become a scandalous invasion of the privacy of innocent bystanders."

Whitfield said his staff worked with Markey and others to address many of those privacy concerns, including requiring states to have standards for the protection of information and requiring states to establish penalties for the unauthorized use of data.

"If we feel like it's being abused we would definitely take action," Whitfield said.

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Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:10:54 PM EDT
Yeaaah, more war on drugs. But heaven forbid they close the border to heroin or cocaine. Now the DEA agents will have probable cause for a search warrant any time you get a Rx for vicodin cough syrup.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:11:36 PM EDT
BOHICA!!!
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:27:25 PM EDT
Well crap.

How am I going to get my Allegra fix now?

and heaven forbid I stock up on my blood pressure medicine for SHTF.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:29:05 PM EDT
yay for "save the children" legislation
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:29:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:31:21 PM EDT
Ya know, why in the hell don't they just nuke the whole planet and get it over with. FTS!!
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:32:17 PM EDT
I hate the gov , but its actually a real problem here. But i still hate them.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:33:56 PM EDT
Of all the problems in this world, why the fuck does this one rate the presidents time? Sometimes I really dont like Bush that much.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:38:40 PM EDT
This will destroy every liberal I personally know. They are all prescription hunters and are on all types of anti depressants.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:40:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2005 7:41:00 PM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By Defcon:
Ahhhh more BS legislation. This is rediculous.......



We can only thank the abusers. Why dont we just lock up the abusers? Nah, lets just regulate somethign more. Its the american way.

Times like this reminds me why we shouldnt worship our heros.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:40:51 PM EDT
Who cares. I buy my prescription drugs on the street corner anyway.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:43:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lu380:
Who cares. I buy my prescription drugs on the street corner anyway.



I think I have the same street pharmacist! Quit hogging all the Viagra.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:49:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VTwin60:

Originally Posted By lu380:
Who cares. I buy my prescription drugs on the street corner anyway.



I think I have the same street pharmacist! Quit hogging all the Viagra.



OMG
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 7:52:16 PM EDT
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