Tags: marsha blackburn | unintended consequences | drug bill | addressed

Blackburn: 'Unintended Consequences' of Drug Bill Should Be Addressed

(Fox News' "Fox & Friends")

By    |   Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:48 AM

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has come under fire for co-sponsoring legislation that raised the Drug Enforcement Agency's standards stopping suspicious drug shipments, admitted Thursday that any "unintended consequences" of the legislation should be addressed.

"If there are unintended consequences, they should be addressed immediately and it should be fixed," the Tennessee Republican, who is running to take retiring Sen. Bob Corker's seat, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.

"The goal is to get a handle on this. We already had a hearing scheduled. It's going to be on [Oct.] 25th."

James Mackler, the Senate race’s Democratic front-runner, earlier this week criticized Blackburn for being involved in the deal, reports The Washington Post.

Mackler, in an emailed statement said, "that Congresswoman Blackburn would champion legislation like this while Tennesseans face an opioid epidemic is all one needs to know about her priorities."

Blackburn, Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tom Marino, and other Republicans had championed a law that weakened DEA enforcement efforts against distributors who had been supplying doctors and pharmacists with the narcotics that were then sold in the black market, noted a Post/"60 Minutes" expose. The investigation also revealed that the drug industry had worked with lobbyists and poured more than a million dollars into the election campaigns of several members of Congress.

Marino had been President Donald Trump's nominee for drug czar, but dropped out, and Blackburn on Thursday defended the need for opiate painkillers in many cases.

"We all know that the opioid epidemic is a crisis, and that yes, we have got to get in behind this," said Blackburn Thursday. "We also know that there are patients, and I have got some in Tennessee who had a legitimate need in order to live a life. These are veterans, cancer patients, hospice ... and for them, it's the difference between a life that is bearable and agony. So if there is legitimate need, it should proceed. If there are illicit vendors or pharmacists, they should be shut down fast."

Blackburn said it's important to remember that the legislation was bipartisan, and had been worked on over a period of time, including being voted on three times in the House and once in the Senate.

"Every member of Congress supported this, because it was a process for clarification," said Blackburn. "We have done a lot on opioids with a billion dollars that was put forward through the 21st century bill with the CARA Act that was put forth in 2016."

Blackburn said she has worked for many years on the issue, including veterans who are fighting drug abuse, and making certain the "tools are in the toolbox that they need. One of the things we are working on right now is a database for pharmacists so that they would know, which would certainly help."

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has come under fire for co-sponsoring legislation that raised the Drug Enforcement Agency's standards stopping suspicious drug shipments, admitted Thursday that any "unintended consequences" of the legislation should be addressed.
marsha blackburn, unintended consequences, drug bill, addressed
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2017-48-19
Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:48 AM
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