Blackburn defends her role in passage of opioid law

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a key player in the passage of a federal law that critics say has made it more difficult to restrain the deadly opioid epidemic, says she has seen no evidence to back up the contentions and that it’s “absolutely absurd” to link political contributions to her support for the questioned law, reports Michael Collins for USA Today.

Blackburn, who is running next year for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Bob Corker, said Thursday her involvement in the law grew out of a sincere effort to make sure that people who have a legitimate need for prescription drugs are able to get them while at the same time cracking down on illicit opioid use.

… A joint investigation published two weeks ago by “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post asserted that the new language robbed the DEA of an important tool that helped keep addictive painkillers out of the hands of those who sell and use them illegally. (Previous post HERE.)

Blackburn, however, said it is impossible to know the law’s true impact because the DEA hasn’t submitted a report to Congress on that subject. The report, which is mandated under the law, was due last April.

“We cannot say that was the result because they will not give us the report,” Blackburn said.

Regardless, if the accusations in the 60 Minutes/Washington Post investigation are backed up by data from the DEA, Blackburn said she would help lead the effort to revise the law.…Blackburn co-sponsored the legislation and at one point even led the debate on the House floor. Her role is under scrutiny because she was pushing the bill at the same time that opioid abuse was sharply on the rise in Tennessee.

… A USA TODAY review of campaign finance reports shows that, since 2012, she has collected at least $96,000 in campaign contributions from political-action committees affiliated with the largest manufacturers and distributors of opioids and from groups representing drug makers and distributors.

Blackburn bristles at the suggestion that those donations fueled her interest in the law.

“You know what, that is absolutely absurd,” she said.

… Responding to the allegations that the law impeded efforts to stop illicit drug use, Blackburn points to government figures showing the number of narcotics shipments halted by federal investigators already was on the decline years before the law took effect. Immediate suspension orders of drug shipments plummeted from 65 in 2011 to five in 2015, and then rose slightly to eight in 2016, according to data the DEA provided to a congressional committee.

“They are saying this (law) caused the problem,” she said. But based on the DEA’s own data, “it is not appropriate to say that what we did” was to blame, she said.

12 Responses to Blackburn defends her role in passage of opioid law

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    old woman voter says:

    Marsha Blackburn cannot be trusted. Period.

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    Darryl C says:

    CBS is not the most Friendly company… BUT What happened was NOT in the interest of STOPPING opioid abuse…

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    Linda says:

    I am a fiscal conservative who almost always votes republican, BUT if Phil Bredesen is her opponent in the senate race, I will vote for him.

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    Lance Persson says:

    In response to Linda, I would suggest she learn about Andy Ogles who is also running in the Republican primary for Corker’s senate seat. He is very impressive and would make an outstanding senator who would put what’s best for the citizens first.

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    Leslie Parsley says:

    Blackburn doesn’t have a moral bone in her body, and she’s also not too bright if she doesn’t know a record of her additional “income” is readily available online.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Andy Ogles may be impressive in many ways, but not as an elected official because he has never held public office. Is United States Senator really an entry level position? Linda, by voting for Phil Bredesen you are voting for Chuck Schumer to be Majority Leader and his left-wing Democrats to be in control of the agenda of the Senate. Isn’t that a silly thing for a fine “fiscal conservative” like you to do?

    After years of service in the U. S. House, the record clearly shows that Marsha Blackburn is a conservative leader while Stephen Fincher is a tepid conservative backbencher. That’s what this election is about so please conservatives, don’t get distracted by “bright shining objects” that the corporatists want to dangle in front of your eyes in order to hide that fact. In this season of thanksgiving, however, lets give thanks that one of them will be our next U.S. Senator and either is one is a heck of a lot better than Corker.

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      Kay White says:

      Donald J. Trump has never served in an office nor have I but I am a person who the people of Tennessee can count on to keep their word. I will not say one thing and do another. I feel that Andy Ogles as well as any other candidate who has the passion for turning around the things that have been wrong in our country or in our State has the God given and Consitutional right to run. Being a business man and running a company which takes perks from our State Government does not qualify one to be Governor either or a Senator, in fact that type door opens up a question of Conflict of Interest and causes the people who know about this type use of Taxpayer’s funds without bids being taken to realize that being a Governor’s friend (if the Govenror does not have good ethics) is a good source of income! I think that the people of TN are sick and tired of the “good old boys” network and those who have been in our State Legislation far too long. Many are looking for a fresh face with fresh ideals. Donald J. Trump will go down in history as one of the best Presidents in the history of the United States and when I am elected, I hope to go down in Tennessee History as one of the most honest Governors and one who is tough on illegals, criminals, common core, and unwise spending of the taxpayer’s money such as the Gas Tax recent levied against our people!

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    Victor says:

    Wow, it is amazing to me how we ‘prostitute’ ourselves when it comes to political leaders! Many people forget that if it had not been for Marsha Blackburn’s leadership in the Tennessee Senate, we would have been saddled with an income tax. She fought it and while in congress, she fought hard for our ability to deduct SALT from federal taxes, which may now be taken away across the nation, does that make it wrong? No! It was the right thing to do at the time. That’s why congress meets every year, they have the ability to correct bad legislation.

    Andy Ogles is a strong conservative, but Marsha is the ONLY conservative in this race with a proven trct record. Neither Boobie nor Lamer can claim those credentials!

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    We should have a clearer picture by the end of this week as to who is beholden to whom on the federal level. My money is on the Corporations, pharmaceutical and otherwise.

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    Kay White says:

    I am not against Marsha, only stating that we each have a right to present ourself for nomination as citizens of this great state and serving in any capacity does not always mean that we are right for a position. We need to each look at the candidates for every office. Check their backgrounds. Check out their responses to questions asked and answered at forums, check out their businesses and see if they have been “awarded” any state funds or if they have served on any committees at Governor Haslam’s direction or been in his cabinet and if so are thoes who have alighned with him on issues and especially on the matter of the Gas Tax and continuous raises in our State Budget. We were asked that at one of our forums and both gentlemen said they were for keeping the gas tax and budget increases! I like everyone who is running for the same office as I am but do I want certain ones to be Governor should I not be the one elected – no because there are some ticking time bombs on spend, spend, spend and you and you can see it in their answers and others have spelled it out loud and clear to you with their past votes. I do not have a voting record but I have a past that presents itself as the State Chariman in 2012 for Rick Santorum, 2016 East TN Director for Donald Trump and starting the Tri City Tea Party in addition to workind in many many state reps and state senators campaigns tirelessly and electing them to try to keep our non income state status and other good bills!

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    Thomas says:

    She says they wouldn’t give them the report. If the report was finished they should have requested it, even insisted on it. They certainly shouldn’t have voted until after all the reports were in. This kind of carelessness is what endangers our country, but these days politicians don’t wan’t to consider the their actions and what can happen down the road.

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