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Senate drug abuse bill endorsed by NACDS

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a letter to Senate leaders, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores voiced its support of legislation that would take a community-level approach to stopping drug abuse, including abuse of prescription and nonprescription medication and methamphetamine.

NACDS sent the letter this week to to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), who introduced the Drug Free Communities Enhancement Act of 2010 (S. 3031). The bill would authorize the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to make grants to implement communitywide strategies that address emerging local drug issues or local drug crises.

"This bipartisan bill … builds upon the highly successful Drug Free Communities (DFC) program by providing critical funding to local communities to more effectively deal with emerging drug trends and local drug crises," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson wrote in the letter. "On behalf of our members, and the communities and families they serve, we are pleased to endorse your bill."

According to NACDS, the crux of the legislation is its focus on aiming to stop drug abuse in the communities where it starts before the problem worsens and involves other communities. The text of the bill describes its rationale, which in part is based on "historical evidence showing that emerging local drug issues and crises can be stopped or mitigated before they spread to other areas, if they are identified quickly and addressed in a comprehensive multisector manner."

In expressing NACDS’ support for the legislation, Anderson noted that "[NACDS] membership has long supported local and national efforts to prevent and reduce drug abuse."

"Within local communities, chain pharmacies are the face of neighborhood health care," he wrote. "We applaud your leadership in helping the communities that we serve, and the millions of patients we care for, live healthier, safer lives by providing necessary funding to local antidrug coalitions."

NACDS said the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation on April 15, clearing its way for placement on the Senate legislative calendar. The legislation would need to be passed in identical form by the Senate and by the House of Representatives for it to be presented to President Obama for signing into law.


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