Today's legislative hearing will focus on:
*H.R. 2405, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2011;
*H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011; and
*the Enhancing Disease Coordination Activities Act of 2011.
Our witness for the first panel will be my friend and fellow Pennsylvanian, Rep. Charlie Dent.
His bill, H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, addresses a growing problem in many states and gives law enforcement additional tools to deal with the very real dangers of synthetic drugs.
H.R. 1254 would prohibit the sale of synthetic drugs that imitate the hallucinogenic or stimulant properties of drugs like marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamines.
While these drugs are synthetic, they are just as dangerous as the real thing, but they are not illegal.
Along with banning these synthetic drugs, the bill would also allow the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to temporarily schedule a new substance for up to three years, instead of the current standard of up to 18 months.
Next, the Subcommittee will examine Rep. Rogers' bill, H.R. 2405, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2011, which would reauthorize certain provisions of the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 (Project Bioshield) and Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 (PAHPA).
These laws help protect our country against pandemics and attacks from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons.
Among the reauthorizations in the bill are the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which helps to ensure that early-stage research leads to tangible medical countermeasures that can be used to save lives in an emergency, and the reauthorization of Project Bioshield's Special Reserve Fund, which helps procure medical countermeasures against anthrax, smallpox, botulism, and other threats for the Strategic National Stockpile.
Finally, the Enhancing Disease Coordination Activities Act of 2011 would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish committees based on existing interagency coordinating models that will help coordinate disease-specific research and other activities currently spread across the department.