Representative Eric Watson has been invited to give official input on the White House National Drug Control Strategy. This is the second year that Representative Watson has been selected concerning a national issue. Last year, Vice President Joe Biden requested that he be a part of a 25 member delegation on human sex trafficking. This year, the president has officially requested input from Representative Watson as part of the White House National Drug Control Strategy’s war on drugs.
Rep. Watson said, “It is an honor to represent Tennessee at the White House. This opportunity will allow me to assist in the advancement of the drug control strategies and to bring what my colleagues and I have done in the Tennessee General Assembly. Tennessee is only one of two states to use the Controlled System Monitoring Database and I feel that this is a key element that the nation would benefit from as well.
"As chairman of the House Criminal Practice Committee, my 2014 goals is to prevent illicit drug use in our communities; to intervene early in the health care system; to strengthen drug treatment services; break the cycle of drug use, crime and incarceration; disrupt the domestic drug production and trafficking; and improve drug-related information systems.
"Tennessee enacted the Prescription Safety Act in 2012 with the passage of HB2391 which became Public Chapter 880, making it one of only two states that require all pharmacies to report any Schedule II, III, IV, or V prescriptions filled to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database, or CSMD. A physician is also required to check the CSMD prior to prescribing one of the controlled substances and annually when the prescribed substance remains part of the treatment.
"Recently, the Tennessee Department of Health surveyed Tennessee prescribers. Almost 80% said that they think the CSMD is useful for decreasing the incidence of doctor shopping. Over 70% said they have changed a proposed treatment plan for a given patient after viewing the information found in the CSMD. Nearly 72% said they are more likely to discuss substance abuse issues/concerns with their patients. Given these figures, I feel that we are seeing positive results immediately.
"A number of physicians have requested that we find ways to protect them when a person picks up a fake prescription and has used the doctor's name and/or DEA number. Patients must present a current and valid government issued identification or current health insurance card issued by either a government or private insurer in receiving prescriptions. Without identification required, it is virtually impossible to identify who actually picked up the fake prescription. This does not require the patient be the only person who can pick up the prescription, it just allows the pharmacist to be able to identify who actually picked up the drugs and would minimize impersonators from getting them. ”
Rep. Watson is chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee and serving his fifth term in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He lives in Cleveland and represents Bradley, Meigs, and Polk Counties. In 2012, he was appointed to the Tennessee Criminal Justice Council to focus on law enforcement needs across the state. He is also a graduate of the 2012 TBI State Academy inaugural class in which he was elected class president. He also serves as a law enforcement officer in Tennessee.