Prescription Drug Abuse Tops Alcohol Abuse In Tennessee

Friday, August 29, 2014

Abuse of prescription opioids, ie: pain medications, is the number one drug problem for Tennesseans receiving publicly funded assistance for treatment services. Over the past decade, substance abuse admissions for prescription drugs like: hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone have increased 500 percent.

The situation has driven admissions to treatment facilities up, from 764 in 2001 to 3,828 admissions in 2011.   

 “As of July 1, 2012, the number of admissions in our state for prescription drug abuse exceeded admissions for alcohol abuse for the first time in history,” said E. Douglas Varney, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

According to a 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 4 percent of Tennessean’s over the age of 18 and approximately 12 percent of 18-25 year olds reported using pain relievers recreationally in the past year. 

“Many people needing substance abuse treatment are not getting the help they need,” said Commissioner Varney. “And of the number of Tennesseans who could benefit from treatment, only about one person in eight actually received it.” 

Substance abuse treatment offers both a benefit to those who receive it and a savings to communities, said officials.

“The greatest savings is a reduction in the cost of crime for law enforcement, general healthcare costs, court and victimization costs and increased employer earnings,” said Commissioner Varney. “And the gain can also be measured in lives saved from a premature death.” 

In 2010, Tennessee’s 1,059 recorded drug-overdose deaths add up to an estimated 7,000 years of life lost, and a loss of earnings of approximately $238 million. 

“We all pay a price when someone needing substance abuse treatment doesn’t get the help they need,” said Commissioner Varney.         

During the months of June, July and August the TDMHSAS has put the spotlight on the epidemic of prescription drug use through the roll out of Prescription for Success: Statewide Strategies to Prevent and Treat the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in Tennessee.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is to plan for and promote the availability of a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation services and supports based on the needs and choices of individuals and families served. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/mental.

3,000 Donors Needed For Summer Kickoff Blood Drive

Non-profit regional blood center, Blood Assurance, is encouraging the community to make a blood donation during the organization’s Summer Kickoff week, happening  Monday through Friday, June 5 , at all area donor centers and bloodmobiles. Blood Assurance aims to have a strong start to the summer by encouraging 3,000 blood donors to help meet the rising demands from area hospitals. ... (click for more)

CHI Memorial Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

CHI Memorial has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.  CHI Memorial underwent a rigorous onsite review ... (click for more)

Work To Start Later This Year On Major Reworking Of U.S. 27 Downtown; 31 Walls To Be Erected As Cameron Hill Faces More Cuts

Work is set to start later this year on the $80 million reworking of U.S. 27 in downtown Chattanooga. TDOT's Jennifer Flynn said all of the right of way has been acquired and construction bids are tentatively scheduled to be opened in August.  The 1.4-mile project includes U.S. 27 from I-24 to south of the Olgiati Bridge.  Work was completed earlier this year ... (click for more)

2 Hurt At Soddy Daisy In Train/Car Accident

Two people were hurt in a train and car accident in Soddy Daisy. More information will follow as it becomes available.   (click for more)

Why The 2-Sided Sidewalk On Wide And Busy Highway 58?

I don’t know if it's the state or the city of Chattanooga that is spending a lot of money to build sidewalks and/or bike trails on Highway 58 (from Webb Road to Jersey Pike). We will have the finest walking/biking sidewalk that crosses at least a dozen businesses with heavy traffic and at best you have to cross six lanes of traffic to get to the other side to catch the sidewalk ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: City Limits Worry Dogs, Cats

If you are a dog or a cat in the Chattanooga area, it is very important to know exactly where the city limits are. You need to know that if a stray animal is rescued in the city, it is taken to one of the finest animal shelters in all of America. But if the errant pooch or tabby is found in Hamilton County – outside the city limits -- it is taken to arguably the worst animal facility ... (click for more)