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Despite a warning about overprescribing narcotic pain relievers and the state having one of the highest rates in the nation of prescription painkiller overdoses, state Senate candidate Joey Hensley opposed legislation designed to curb pain-pill abuse.
Hensley, a physician and general practitioner from Hohenwald, opposed legislation earlier this year requiring pharmacists to dispense tamper-resistant narcotic pain relievers often abused by people wanting to get “high.”
“Joey Hensley’s objection to measures designed to curb drug abuse in our communities is irresponsible,” said Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “Communities and families in our state are being decimated by drug abuse. Our jails are bursting at the seams and our children and their futures are being destroyed by parents who are being incarcerated at an alarming rate. Efforts to end this scourge on society deserve our full support.”
TennCare officials have previously warned Hensley about overprescribing narcotic pain relievers, according to a July 19, 2005 article in The Tennessean. In June 2005, TennCare notified Hensley that he had prescribed a certain narcotic painkiller far more often than had other doctors in the program.
In 2007, Hensley denied that overprescribing drugs is even a problem in Tennessee despite a 2007 study concluding that Tennessee residents used more prescription drugs than any other state in the nation. “To me, that high number means we have a high number of sick people,” Hensley said of the report in a February 4, 2007 article in The Tennessean.
Since 2008, the top three controlled substances prescribed in Tennessee have been the pain medications Hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone, noted the Tennessee Drug Diversion Task Force.
“When confronted with the facts and problems within his industry, Mr. Hensley would rather deny the problem exists than fully support bipartisan solutions,” Forrester said. “Mr. Hensley’s record raises serious questions about his commitment to controlling the drug abuse that is devastating our communities and hurting our families.”
ON THE RECORD: Rep. Hensley requested to be recorded as voting No in the Health & Human Resources Subcommittee [HB 2567, 3/13/12]
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