Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney will join other state and community leaders to discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Chattanooga on Thursday, July 10.
Officials said, "Prescription drug abuse is a pervasive, multi-dimensional issue impacting Tennessee individuals, families, and communities.
Of the 4,850,000 adults in Tennessee, it is estimated that nearly five (5) percent (about 221,000) have used pain relievers, also known as prescription opioids, in the past year for non-medical purposes; of those, it is estimated that 69,100 are addicted to prescription opioids and require treatment for prescription opioid abuse."
“The abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, is an epidemic in Tennessee, with disastrous and severe consequences to Tennesseans of every age,” Commissioner Varney said. “Things such as overdose deaths, emergency department visits, hospital costs, children in state custody, and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes can all be prevented and/or treated if we all work together and fight this deadly epidemic.”
The meeting will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, at the UTC’s University Center, 642 East 5th St.