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.

Autism Awareness Walk Set For Nov. 8

Families, organizations, and businesses are registering in droves for the 2 nd annual Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk scheduled for Nov. 8 Last year’s inaugural walk drew 900 participants and raised $58,000. “The parent volunteers had been working hard for over a year and were overwhelmed when the walk exceeded all their expectations”, stated Dave Buck, Executive Director ... (click for more)

Nathan Smith Joins Parkridge Diagnostic Center

Parkridge Medical Group-Diagnostic Center announced the addition of Nathan Smith, NP-C, to the practice of John Tapp, MD. Mr. Smithbegan his nursing career in the Chattanooga area in 2002 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Jacksonville State University. He earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Southern Adventist University and has worked as a nurse ... (click for more)

Witnesses In 17-Year-Old Murder Case Say They Saw Hollingsworth Threaten, Mistreat Wife

Two potential witnesses in a 17-year-old murder testified Monday that they saw Adolphus Lebron Hollingsworth threaten and mistreat his wife Vicky before she disappeared in 1997. Hollingsworth, who is under $200,000 bond, is set for trial on Nov. 4. Orville Hughes said he lived around the corner from Vicky when he was on Chamberlain Avenue and they were on Duncan Avenue. ... (click for more)

Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Can Never Go Home

When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sparked top-ranked Florida State to a 56-41 comeback over N.C. State last Saturday, you would have thought the world had forgotten and virtually excused his vulgar rant from the week before. His inexcusable mid-week antics kept him sidelined during the Clemson game and brought down the nation’s scorn but less than a week later he was ... (click for more)