Justyn Patton, a certified recovery specialist for DreamLife Recovery PA, was a member of an Oz “Safer Streets Community Discussion” panel in the City of Johnstown on Tuesday, The Tribune-Democrat reported.
Johnston is located in Cambria County, which has ranked among the counties in Pennsylvania with the highest per-capita overdose deaths, the newspaper said.
Oz spoke to the panel – which featured doctors and recovery professionals – about the problem of illegal drugs in the U.S. including the movement of potent, China-sourced synthetic opioid fentanyl coming in from the U.S.–Mexico border, the newspaper reported.
Oz, who is running against Democratic opponent John Fetterman for a seat in the U.S. Senate, claimed there’s been a dramatic increase in fentanyl coming across the border, adding that law enforcement officials have confiscated more fentanyl than they did two years ago.
Patton recognized the GOP candidate’s claim about drug trafficking before also pointing to the pharmaceutical industry for its hand in the crisis years before.
He later told ABC’s senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce that he didn’t hear a plan from Oz and claimed the candidate addressed “the same old” points on detox and securing the border.
Patton, who said he came into the panel as an undecided voter, said the event changed his mind.
“You just spent about an hour on a panel with Dr. Oz and that swayed you away from him?” Bruce asked.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” said Patton, who described himself as “insulted.”
You can watch a clip from the panel, and Bruce’s interview with Patton, below.