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Public Statements

Prescription Drug User Fee Amendments of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC




Mr. INHOFE. I thank the Senator from Massachusetts for his tolerance.

Mr. President, I introduced last year a bill I called the Child Medication Safety Act. We are offering it as an amendment to this underlying bill. It is my anticipation that we will get a vote on it ultimately. This is to protect children and their parents from being coerced into administering a controlled substance or psychotropic drug in order to attend school. The House passed their version of H.R. 1790 by 407 to 12 under suspension of the rules in November of 2005.

Parents today face many challenges when raising their children, one of which is ensuring that their children receive the best education possible. My views on education come from a somewhat unique perspective in that my wife Kay was a teacher at Edison High School. My daughters are both teachers. I can assure my colleagues that I am one of the strongest supporters of quality education. However, it has come to my attention that schools have been acting as physicians or psychologists by strongly suggesting that children with behavioral problems be put immediately on some form of psychotropic drugs. Schools and teachers are not equipped to make these diagnoses and should make it mandatory for the student to continue attending the school. This is clearly beyond their area of expertise. Therefore, I am introducing this legislation to ensure that parents are not required by school personnel to medicate their children.

The Child Medication Safety Act requires, as a condition of receiving funds from the Department of Education, that States develop and implement policies and procedures prohibiting school personnel from requiring a child to obtain a prescription as a condition of attending school. It should be noted that this bill does not prevent teachers or other school personnel from sharing with parents or guardians classroom-based observations regarding a student's academic performance or regarding the need for evaluation of for special education.

Additionally, this bill calls for a study by the Comptroller General of the United States reviewing: No. 1, the variation among States in the definition of psychotropic medication as used in public education; No. 2, the prescription rates of medication used in public schools to treat children with attention deficit disorders and other such disorders; No. 3, which medications listed under the Controlled Substances Act are being prescribed to such children; and, No. 4, which medications not listed under the Controlled Substances Act are being used to treat these children and their properties and effects. This GAO report is due no later than 1 year after enactment of this act.

I believe it is an extremely important amendment. It protects the rights of our children against improper intrusion regarding health issues by those not qualified. If a parent or guardian believes their child is in need of medication, then they ought to have the right to make that decision and consult with a licensed medical practitioner who is qualified to prescribe an appropriate drug. I am hoping others will join me in support of the amendment. It is a parental rights amendment that should be supported by all.

With that, it is my intention that we will be putting this in line to get a vote. I ask unanimous consent now to return to the previous pending amendment.

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