Shaheen’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Legislation Clears Key Committee Hurdle

March 16, 2016

**Her bill restarts the vitally important National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program that supports state efforts to monitor prescription drugs**

**This legislation has already passed the House and has overwhelming bipartisan support**

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) legislation to support state prescription drug monitoring programs cleared an important hurdle today as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) passed it by a voice vote vote. The House passed this legislation by a voice vote last September. Shaheen’s bill restarts the expired National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting program that provides grants to states to maintain, improve, and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs and authorizes it for five years. Between 1999 and 2014, more than 165,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, and every day over 1000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Monitoring programs like NASPER help health care professionals better monitor drug dispensing practices, ultimately helping reduce potential abuse. The NASPER program was originally signed into law in 2005 but expired in 2010. Shaheen’s bill would reauthorize the program through 2021.

“The federal government must be a steadfast partner to New Hampshire as we continue to battle the opioid pandemic that’s ravaging communities across our state,” said Shaheen. “Prescription drug monitoring programs play an important role in curbing the threat of addiction in our communities. Getting the NASPER program back online will help local officials to continue strengthening and expanding their drug monitoring programs, ultimately helping them identify and reduce drug abuse.”

Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NASPER program addresses this epidemic by  improving the ability of law enforcement, public health officials and state regulators to investigate prescribing and dispensing practices by helping states develop more robust prescription drug monitoring programs. NASPER can provide support to already existing state prescription drug monitoring programs and bolster their ability to operate both effectively and efficiently. Prescription drug monitoring programs provide information that is critical to health care providers and for guiding educational outreach.

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