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The problem is felt especially acutely in the rural parts of West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District where Amjad — a somewhat accidental politician — saw patients every day struggling with the effects of the epidemic, high rates of cancer (sometimes explained away by some experts as lifestyle causes) and the high cost of healthcare.
"I just got tired of watching things go in a direction I didn’t like and I realized the only way you can change things is to get into politics," she told ABC News, adding later. “I don’t think we handle it properly, the people making the decisions for drugs are not even healthcare professionals which drives me insane,” she said.
Amjad is one of seven Republicans running for the U.S. House seat held by Rep. Evan Jenkins in the primary election on Tuesday. Jenkins is running in the Republican Senate primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin.
Amjad, 40, grew up in Beckley, West Virginia, population 17,000, and has been practicing medicine in the area for eight years.
During that time she has tried to raise awareness about addiction and drug problems in her area with education programs and funded needle exchange programs after increased rates of Hepatitis C, but she said there is still a strong stigma around drug addiction and she realized she could make a bigger change in politics than as a private physician.