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Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services


PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS: Statewide Strategies to Prevent and Treat the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in Tennessee

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 221,000 (or 4.56%) have used pain relievers, also known as prescription opioids, in the past year for non-medical purposes. Of those adults, it is estimated that 69,100 are addicted to prescription opioids and require treatment for prescription opioid abuse. The other 151,900 are using prescription opioids in ways that could be harmful and may benefit from early intervention strategies. The abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, is an epidemic in Tennessee, with disastrous and severe consequences to Tennesseans of every age including: overdose deaths, emergency department visits, hospital costs, newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, children in state custody, and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes.

"Prescription for Success: Statewide Strategies to Prevent and Treat the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in Tennessee"  is a strategic plan developed by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in collaboration with sister agencies impacted by the prescription drug epidemic. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following partners: Departments of Health, Children's Services, Safety and Homeland Security, and Correction, Bureau of TennCare, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Branch of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. Special thanks are extended to the commissioners of each of the partner agencies as well as those people who were interviewed and provided expertise and resources.

"Prescription for Success"  is comprehensive and multi-year in scope and nature. However, this plan does not obligate the Administration or the General Assembly to any additional funding requests to fulfill this plan's purpose. Funding requests related to the initiatives in this document will be determined through the normal General Assembly budgeting process.

The entire document is available for download by CLICKING HERE.

  • To download individual sections, click on one of the links below:

The abbreviated Executive Summary is available for download by CLICKING HERE.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Links