Rep. Blackburn cites 'unintended consequences' of opioid law
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, is calling for immediately addressing any "unintended consequences" of a federal law she co-sponsored that dialed back federal power to stop companies from distributing opioids.
A 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation accused Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn of co-sponsoring a bill experts say is fueling the opioid crisis. The investigation claims the law makes it more difficult for the DEA to stop suspicious drug shipments, making it easier for pain pills to enter the black market causing more people to lose their lives from painkiller overdoses.
Shane Field is now in recovery after battling an addiction to painkillers, drugs he says are easy to find.
“It wasn't even a pain clinic," Fielder said. "It was a trailer on the side of the road. You could go by and give him money, and they'd give you pills."
Now working at Addiction Campuses, Fielder helps people get into addiction recovery treatment programs.
“I had close friends I grew up with all my life that have succumb to this disease,” says Fielder.
“We have more people dying of this epidemic than car crashes or gun violence,” says Brian Sullivan of Addiction Campuses.
As Tennessee and the entire nation faces an opioid epidemic, a spokesperson for Blackburn said if there are unintended consequences from this bipartisan legislation, it should be addressed immediately.
The spokesman also said Blackburn believes Congress should continue its work to address the opioid abuse epidemic and conduct oversight.
At the same time, recovering addicts like Shane Fielder will continue sharing their messages of hope.
“It's never too late to ask for help," Fielder said. "No matter how far the scale you've gone down, you still have self worth. There are people out there that will love you until you can love yourself again.”
Blackburn's office noted in a statement that the legislation passed unanimously and was signed into law by Democratic President Barack Obama.
Former Rep. Stephen Fincher, who is also considering a Republican Senate bid, said the opioid epidemic is a top issue to Tennesseans. He said he would be a "voice against special interests" if he runs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.