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Bill to Study Rx Drug Abuse Dies

With the end of the legislative session, bills that are dated for the current session effectively die in whatever committee they have been referred to. That’s what happened to H351, a bill authorizing a Joint Commission to study prescription drug abuse. The actual title of the bill is: AN ACT TO STUDY PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE BY HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS.

Introduced by Representatives Hamilton, Glazier, Murry, and Fulghum as the primary sponsors, H351 would have created a commission to study the problem and suggest legislative solution for the next session. Since the deadline in the bill has passed, it would have to be rewritten to gain new life in the next legislative session.

The goals of the commission were investigatory and would have formed the basis for further bills. The exercise is a good one, since well informed legislation is better legislation. It’s important for state legislators to understand the parameters of the problem before acting. One way to do this is to authorize a study, as this bill would have.

Currently, prescription drug abuse is an emerging trend across the country, with states cracking down by increasing tracking of patients and the drugs they receive. The purpose of the tracking is to help prevent drugs that are prescribed for legitimate medical conditions from moving into the black market or being sold to addicts outright.

The bill stipulated the following as worthy of investigation and empowered the proposed commission to look into these matters:
* The prevalence of prescription drug abuse by students on college campuses and in high schools.
* The effects of prescription drug abuse on college and high school students.
* Effective strategies for reducing or eliminating prescription drug abuse by college and high school students.
* Any other matters related to prescription drug abuse by students the Commission deems necessary.

Not authorizing the study doesn’t preclude the legislature from getting information on these issues. They may still receive testimony and make less formal inquiries.

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