Black campaigns with Ramsey, talks drug addiction at ETSU

While campaigning for governor in the Tri-Cities area Monday, U.S. Rep. Diane Black stopped by East Tennessee State University’s Bill Gatton of College of Pharmacy to participate in a roundtable discussion on drug addiction treatment and prevention research, reports the Johnson City Press.

Accompanied by former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who now serves as her campaign co-chair, Black listened attentively and asked many questions, even interjecting at times to ask for clarification or provide her own feedback.

…Black immediately became intrigued by a proposal from Dr. Sarah Melton, a professor at the pharmaceutical college.

Rather than enforcing overprescribing through actual legislation, Melton said Virginia passed a bill that authorized the Virginia Board of Medicine to come up with its own enforceable regulations.

“It’s working. The regulations that came out, we’re seeing a dramatic decrease in opioids being prescribed,” Melton said. “It’s a wonderful model. We’ve got the data for almost a year, and we’re not seeing patients that legitimately have chronic pain being kicked to the curb, which we were afraid of. So, I’ve got all that data I’m happy to share with you.”

Black, half jokingly and half seriously, wanted more. “So you’re going to write this for me, right?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” Melton responded.

Black said hearing ideas, like Melton’s, is what makes roundtable discussions so valuable.

Note: Ramsey is also a member of the ETSU Board of Trustees.

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