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.

Parkridge Health System Welcomes Inaugural Nurse Residents

Parkridge Health System   welcomed its nurse residents to the inaugural cohort of the HCA Nurse Residency at TriStar Division. Selected after a rigorous application and interview process, these 11 nurses launched their professional nursing careers with orientation for the Winter 2017 Cohort on Feb. 13 in Chattanooga. “We are excited to welcome our nurse residents to the ... (click for more)

2 Surgeons At Maryellen Locher Breast Center Named Certified Surgeons For Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery

CHI Memorial announces Betsy Washburn, M.D., breast surgical oncologist at the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, and Mark Brzezienski, M.D., FACS, director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center and plastic surgeon at The Plastic Surgery Group, have been recognized as Hidden Scar trained surgeons for Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery. "They ... (click for more)

Boyd Says He Is Not On Witch Hunt Against CVB, But Intends To Seek Full Audit Of Agency; Graham Backs Visitors Bureau 100%

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd has told Chattanooga Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak that he is "not on a witch hunt" against the CVB, but he said he intends to seek a full audit of the agency. He said he was inspired to "take an even closer look" at the Visitors Bureau after he said Mr. Doak "unleashing a fire storm of emails condemning my accusations." ... (click for more)

Man, Child Killed In Crash On Highway 136 In Walker County; 2nd Child Who Was Seriously Injured Dies On Monday

A man and an unrestrained five-year-old child were killed when a vehicle went out of control on Highway 136 in Walker County on Saturday. A 10-year-old in the car was seriously injured, and later died on Monday. The driver was thrown from the van and was dead at the scene. The five-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and also died at the wreck site at Ponder Creek Road. ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Blackburn Good As Gone

I didn’t know until I read John Adams’ column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel that one person who doesn't personally know UTC Athletic Director David Blackburn said he heard he has a drinking problem. I also didn’t know that “the best thing to ever happen to UTC athletics” had health problems, according to a second person who does not personally know him. It is also being said David ... (click for more)