The Senate is considering a bill that would encourage every state to create an electronic monitoring program for prescription drugs, with information shared among states and between states and the federal government. The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act of 2004 (NASPER), already approved by the House on a voice vote, is aimed at creating a national system in which the government is constantly looking over doctors' shoulders as they write prescriptions, looking for signs of nonmedical use. Such a system would magnify the chilling effect that the government's second-guessing has on pain treatment while sacrificing patient privacy for the sake of the war on drugs.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a physician, calls NASPER, a.k.a. HR 3015, "yet another unjustifiable attempt by the federal government to use the war on drugs as an excuse for invading the privacy and liberties of the American people and for expanding the federal government's disastrous micromanagement of medical care." He argues that the bill violates the Fourth Amendment, since it "authorizes the use and disclosure of identifiable health information for law enforcement purposes without the patient's knowledge or consent, without probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and without obtaining a search warrant."