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Pallone Legislation Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Set to Become Law

Location: Trenton, NJ

August 11, 2005

Encourages New Jersey Legislature To Take Advantage of Federal Grants & Incentives To Create Drug Monitoring Program

Trenton, NJ --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today said legislation he authored, which President Bush is expected to sign into law this week, gives the New Jersey legislature the perfect opportunity to pass legislation already introduced that creates a drug monitoring program to combat the overuse and abuse of prescription drugs.

Pallone's legislation, which was approved by Congress before it adjourned for the August recess, will provide grants to states to establish and improve electronic programs for monitoring controlled dangerous substances. Pharmacists would report any prescriptions with potential for high abuse or addiction to a state monitoring authority that would make this information available to state licensing boards. The information would then be accessible to physicians in cases of suspected abuses and law enforcement in cases of criminal investigations.

"New and innovative prescription drugs have been a tremendous help to New Jerseyans who are suffering from chronic pain, but these drugs are highly addictive," Pallone said at a press conference in Trenton. "My legislation gives New Jersey access to federal funding to create a monitoring system that will prevent prescription drug abusers from exploiting and ducking the system, while giving doctors the confidence that the drugs they prescribe will only be used as intended."

Today, at a news conference at the Trenton Statehouse, Pallone was joined by New Jersey Senator Joe Vitale and Assemblyman Herb Conaway, who are two of the sponsors of legislation that would create a monitoring program in New Jersey, and by New Jersey Director of Division of Consumer Affairs Kimberly Ricketts, whose agency would implement and oversee the program.

Twenty-one states have already implemented prescription drug monitoring programs that have proven to be very effective at preventing drug abuse in-state, although evidence also suggests that states without monitoring programs have seen a rise in abuse as people cross state lines to evade monitoring. Before passage of Pallone's legislation, there was no system in place that allowed information to be shared between states. Pallone's legislation provides uniform reporting formats so states can work together to stop drug abuse.

"There is nothing in place to prevent a drug abuser from Pennsylvania from crossing state lines into New Jersey and filling a prescription to avoid detection," Pallone said. "My legislation solves this problem by providing states with uniform formats that make it easier to share information across state lines. Now, it's time for New Jersey to take advantage of this new federal law."

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