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Department Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2007)

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PALLONE. Madam Chairman, I rise in support of the Whitfield amendment to fund NASPER, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act, which the gentleman from Kentucky and I sponsored in the last Congress.

As was mentioned already, this is the authorized program that would deal with this issue. And I don't want to get into necessarily contrasting this with the other program that the gentleman from New York mentioned, but I do think it's necessary to understand that this program is authorized and it's not funded. I mean, obviously we should be funding programs that are authorized, not those that are not.

But beyond that, the bottom line is that the NASPER program mandates that States participate in the program. We only have about 22 States now that are participating, so I would certainly argue that the status quo with this alternative Justice Department program simply is not working. If we want more States to get involved, we need to fund the authorized program.

During the time since August of 2005 when this became law and has not been funded, during this time since then prescription drug abuse has reached an all-time high, with an estimated 9 million Americans using prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes. Most disturbing is the fact that there is an epidemic of prescription drug abuse among teenagers. So if the argument is that the existing Justice Department program is working and we don't need to fund this authorized program, I think the facts show very much the opposite.

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