Peter Clemens, US Congress, District 1

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Why did you decide to run for public office?

I'm running for Congress because the only way to begin fixing our problems, is to stop sending professional politicians to Washington, D.C. We need to start sending real people; people who understand the realities of raising a family on a budget and caring for aging parents; people who have created jobs, and want to help other small businesses do the same.
Congress is broken, and Utah's First District Representative is part of the problem. We deserve better. We must demand a representative who cares about doing the right thing, even when it's hard. That's how we become better, and we can do better. 

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.? 

I am a physician, board certified in both wound care and family practice, and I have been practicing for over 25 years. In addition, I am one of the few doctors in the Ogden area that is able to use Suboxone to treat opioid addiction. During my time in the Army Reserves, I worked in public health and testified before Congress on public health issues. I also have traveled to Haiti and Ethiopia with international aid agencies to bring expert medical services to communities ravaged by human and natural disasters.

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse? 

I am one of the few doctors in the Ogden region that is able to prescribe Suboxone to treat opioid addiction

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

It will reduce the deaths of opioid and heroin addiction. It is also an alternative for certain types of pain.

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

I am currently treating up to 200 patients with heroin and opioid addiction for opioid dependency; with the help of my Nurse Practitioner Assistant.
We need to make sure that we have the tools in place at jails and prisons to treat patients who arrive in those facilities, and who are legitimately taking medication for chronic pain and are opioid dependent – as well as those who are abusing opioids –  to prevent overdose and withdrawal.
We need to make sure that family members of heroin users have access to Nalaxone to prevent sudden death associated with overdose.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

I agree.

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

I agree with the principles of harm reduction and have become acquainted with such programs in Seattle, WA. I would advocate for similar evidence based programs in other cities and communities nationwide. 

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

I support decriminalization of cannabis for personal usage, and support the scheduling and legalization of medical cannabis for those indications where there is sufficient scientific evidence supporting it's usage.

Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?

Yes, I believe I am uniquely positioned due to my medical experience to provide progressive leadership on this issue.

Anything else?

As a physician and medical provider of services to those with chronic pain, addiction, and/or opioid dependency, I have a life time of experience knowing what does and does not work in the population of patients. If elected I would utilize that experience legislatively to benefit the lives of my constituents and other Americans.