opioids

Democratic donor running ads hitting Hensley over prescription case involving paramour

A copy of newspaper ads Bill Freeman is running in the district of Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald)

Prominent Democratic donor Bill Freeman of Nashville is running ads in Republican state Sen. Joey Hensley’s district criticizing the Hohenwald physician over conflicting testimony about how long he was romantically involved with a second cousin to whom he had prescribed opioids.

The state Board of Medical Examiners last year placed Hensley’s license on a three-year probation. Hensley had argued in a hearing that writing prescriptions for relatives was unavoidable in a small town like Hohenwald, suggesting it would have been “discrimination” for him to refuse them treatment.

The senator later acknowledged other medical care is available, as a doctor and nurse practitioner routinely visit the town. The Tennessean reported medical board member Neal Beckford noted Columbia is only 30 miles away, meaning other medical options may be “inconvenient
but not insurmountable.”

The Tennessean recently followed up with a story about how Hensley’s involvement with his second-cousin may have lasted longer than the brief spell he testified about during the hearing.

Read the full release from Freeman below:

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Sen. Reeves unsurprised his pharmacy topped opioid recipient list in Tennessee

State Sen. Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) tells WPLN-FM he wasn’t surprised when his pharmacy was listed as the top recipient of opioids in Tennessee — more than double the next highest recipient.

A database published by the Washington Post showed that Reeves’ company, now called Twelve Stone Health Partners, took delivery of more than 45 million pain pills over a six-year period.

Reeves told WPLN that most of the opioids cycling through his pharamcy between 2006 and 2012 came from the company’s contract with hospice agencies.

“You’ve got an individual, at home, who’s got cancer, who’s at end of life, and we’re dispensing pain medication to them,” he says. “And if there’s diversion in those homes, at that point in time, it’s a bigger issue within that family.”

While there are numerous examples of family members of caregivers stealing medications from hospice patients, Reeves told the public radio station that its close to impossible to cheat the system on his end of the system.

“I do not believe that the addiction problems and the overdose problems and the diversion problems in the state of Tennessee are being caused because of hospice patients,” he said.

The retail said of the business started by Reeves’ father was sold to Fred’s in 2015. The company, which now mostly focuses on people in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, employs 130 and is licensed in 47 states.