Watson gets war on drugs invitation
by DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Sep 29, 2013 | 661 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Rep. Eric Watson, second from the right, participates on a committee in the U.S. Capitol Building on Human Trafficking in 2012. Watson was invited to participate on the White House National Drug Control Strategy committee. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
State Rep. Eric Watson, second from the right, participates on a committee in the U.S. Capitol Building on Human Trafficking in 2012. Watson was invited to participate on the White House National Drug Control Strategy committee. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
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State Rep. Eric Watson was invited recently to give official input on the White House National Drug Control Strategy.

This is the second year Watson has been selected to participate on a committee concerning a national issue.

In 2012, Vice President Joe Biden requested him as a participant on a 25-member delegation on human sex trafficking. This year, the White House requested input from him as part of the White House National Drug Control Strategy’s war on drugs.

“It is an honor to represent Tennessee at the White House. This is an opportunity to assist in the advancement of the drug control strategies and to advance what my colleagues and I have done in the Tennessee General Assembly. Tennessee is only one of two states using the Controlled System Monitoring Database, which I feel is a key element that could benefit the nation.”

As chairman of the House Criminal Practice Committee, Watson said his goals in 2014 are the prevention of illicit drug use in 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 H.B. 2391 which became Public Chapter 880, making it one of only two states that require pharmacies to report all filled prescriptions for Schedule II, III, IV or V drugs to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.

Physicians are also required to check the CSMD before 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 percent of the responses indicated the CSMD is useful for decreasing the incidence of doctor shopping. More than 70 percent said they have changed a proposed treatment plan for a given patient after viewing the information found in the CSMD. Nearly 72 percent said they are more likely to discuss substance abuse issues and concerns with patients.

“Given these figures, I feel we are seeing immediate positive results,” Watson said.

He said a number of physicians requested the General Assembly to find ways to protect them when a person picks up a fake prescription using the doctor's name 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 when receiving prescriptions. Without required identification, it is virtually impossible to identify who actually picked up the fake prescription.

This does not require the patient to 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 minimize impersonators from getting them, he said.

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 graduated in 2012 from the inaugural class of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academy in which he was elected class president.

He so serves as a law enforcement officer in Tennessee.