Tennessee Deputy Speaker and State Senator Janice Bowling
State Senator Janice Bowling’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 3/4/2019 5:08:35 AM.
What district of Tennessee do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
Tragic and extensive
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?
2015 repeal of the 2001 Intractable Pain Act; Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
I introduced and advocated for both bills
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
The repeal of the 2001 Pain Act passed
The Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act SB 486 is now being considered
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
That Perdue Pharma laid the groundwork during the 80’s and ‘90’s to have the AMA declare Pain to be the 5th vital sign. This apparently was contrived to create a need for their ” miracle pain drug. A non-addictive, no street value non-harmful” Drs. Two months after Tennessee past the Intractable Pain Act, the FDA requiredPerdue to correct the labeling on their new drug. The drug was addictive and harmful... the drug was Oxycontin. The national opioid crisis was begun.
The mystery is that it is still available, doctors still prescribe it and pharmacists still dispense it.
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?
My Tn Medical Cannabis Act. 33 states have passed similar laws. I have aggregated good public policy parts of bills from 33 states and rejected bad public policy. Because Medical Cannabis has been declared to be a Schedule 1 drug, the incredible research for this plant has taken place in Israel. Much of the research funded by American tax dollars. States having passed legalization of MC have experienced a 25.8 percent reduction in opioid deaths. The prescribing of opioids under Medicare part D has dropped 14 percent in those states. Medical Cannabis is our only viable, affordable front line defense against the scourge of opioids. It is an incredibly safe, effective treatment for many diseases and conditions, including the prevention and treatment of opioid addictions.