Utah State Representative Raymond Ward

State Representative Raymond Ward's office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 4/11/2019 22:04:22 PM.


What district of Utah do you represent?


House District 19


Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?


Very Bad (same as for the rest of the country).


What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?

We finally passed Medicaid expansion; Limits on new opioid prescriptions; Widespread availability of naloxone; Feedback to doctors who write high risk prescriptions.


What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?

I was an Advocate for Medicaid expansion for the last 6 years.  I was also the sponsor on bills to limit initial opioid prescriptions and physician feedback.


Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?

All of those mentioned above have passed.


What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?

When not in session, I see patients in my clinic every day who have had their lives made much worse by having been put on long term opioids.


If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?

If I could wave a magic wand and make something happen, it wouldn't be legislation.  I would much rather wave the wand and have everyone who writes these prescriptions have a complete understanding of the complete lack of evidence of their effectiveness in pain reduction with long term use, and an honest understanding of how quickly patients can become addicted.  If doctors understood and were honest about those 2 things, there would be a 90% reduction in how many prescriptions are written.  Even with that, it would still take years to get out of the hole we have dug -- but at least we would be moving in the right direction.


Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?

I would love to visit with you if you would have me on the podcast!