Q&A: Rep. Brad Daw, 60th House District
Rep. Brad Daw, sitting his last term serving the 60th House District of Utah, is looking back on some of his biggest accomplishments as part of the Health and Human Services Committee. In this Q&A, he speaks on his past legislation and what the immediate future of COVID-19 might look like during this fall back-to-school season.
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Haley Donwerth: Can you tell me about House Bill 285 and what the purpose is?
Rep. Brad Daw: “This actually expands an existing program. The main thing this bill does is increase the license renewal fee for prescribing professionals, and the reason for that is to expand an existing program that allows licensed professionals who prescribe to have a program where, if they get addicted, this is a program to help them get unhooked from their addiction. This is for doctors, pharmacists, the kind of folks who have a different type of access to prescription drugs and need a little different approach. We want to try, if at all possible, we want them to continue to use their license while they are becoming unhooked, and this program allows them to do it if they keep themselves within certain bounds. It’s actually been used nationally, it’s a pretty successful model and we were suing it here in Utah but it was woefully underfunded, and it wasn’t big enough to handle all the potential people who need it.”
HD: Can you speak to the next steps needed to continue the decrease of COVID-19 in the state while preparing for the 2020 flu season?
BD: “In the last couple days, we had a fairly big jump in COVID-19 cases. Two days ago, we had a fairly big jump from a low of 320 on September 7 up to 661. The reason that’s interesting is that’s almost exactly to the day two weeks after school opened. The fact is, this is what we’ve seen. Every time we open up a little bit, we see a jump and then we have to ride that wave and see if it goes back down again. But we have definitely seena jump in cases. All the things about wearing masks and stuff like that still needs to stay in place, and it’s clear that even with that we’re still not really managing it as well as we could.”
HD: Are there any other health care or health policy concerns in your district you are looking into?
BD: “I’ve been pretty heavily involved in the medical cannabis legislation from day one, and as we start to see growers and pharmacists and processors ramp up and we start to see patients beginning to use it, it exposes some of the weaknesses in the system. Over time, we expect there will need to be some modification and some adjustments to how that works. I’m following that along pretty closely and actually pretty heavily involved in what those modifications will be. Things like this where I really have a big stake in creating the policy, I have a real passion to make sure it’s done right. There’s a group out there that really wants to push this all the way to recreational, there’s another group out there that wants medical cannabis but they want it in a ‘wide-open’ sort of way, so I view my job as, there are some definitely medical uses for marijuana, but we don’t want to throw out all the regulatory framework that has served us well over the years just because there’s some district of the federal government. My job is to try to find that sweet spot where it’s medicine, it’s available, it’s reasonably priced, but it’s well regulated so it’s not being abused.”
HD: Since this is your last term as a Representative for the 60th District, and you’ve been serving on the Health and Human Services Committee, can you speak to your time on that committee and some of your biggest accomplishments?
BD: “One of my primary reasons for being on that committee is I’m a big proponent of consumer-driven health care. We have tried over the years to make it easier for Utahns to manage their health care dollars, not have them be dictated to by an insurance company or an employer, but let them decide what kind of health care works best for them and let their dollars follow those decisions.
Another big thing I’ve tracked over the years is prescription drug abuse. We’ve had a huge problem in Utah with that, and I’ve been instrumental in furthering the controlled substance database, helping educate doctors, and helping us be aware of how dangerous opioids can be and how they need to be managed a lot more smartly than they have been in the past.”