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State Responds To Arrests Of Medical Professionals In Conjunction With Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force Takedown

Departments mobilize local resources to serve affected patients
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 10:50am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—In response to federal arrests of medical professionals in Tennessee and other nearby states through the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force Takedown, the Departments of Health and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) and the Division of TennCare have activated community-based substance abuse resources and statewide call lines to serve affected patients.

TDMHSAS community-based partners in affected areas include Community Anti-Drug Coalitions, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists (ROPS), and Lifeline Peer Project team members.  They are working to notify first responders and other critical contacts of possible impacts of the clinic closures.  ROPS are also interfacing with affected patients through informational flyers and through community trainings and naloxone distribution.

State leaders are also preparing for additional calls and sharing information and updates with calltakers at statewide phone lines that may receive additional calls due to the clinic closures.  The impacted 24/7 hotlines include:

“In support of patients affected by these recent actions, we are contacting local medical providers, pharmacies, and emergency departments to discuss potential patient impact and to encourage a swift community response. The Department of Health will continue to closely partner with our fellow state agencies, to protect the health and safety of Tennesseans during this critical time,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP.

“With a situation like this, the fear is that an interruption in opioid pain medication may cause patients to experience some symptoms of withdrawal, and that can lead to increased risk-taking.  For people who want to seek treatment for any kind of addiction issue, call the Tennessee REDLINE (800-889-9789) which can help with referrals to substance abuse treatment resources,” said Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.

“The Division of TennCare has also been working with its health plans to ensure TennCare members receiving services from any of these clinics can find assistance in coordinating care for continued treatment.  Any TennCare member who needs assistance can reach out to their assigned health plan,” said Division of TennCare Director Gabe Roberts.

Additional Information and resources:

For a map with contact information for your ROPS, click this link.

TennCare Health Plan Contact Numbers:

  • Amerigroup: 1-800-600-4441
  • BlueCare: 1-800-468-9698
  • United Healthcare: 1-800-690-1606
  • TennCare Select: 1-800-263-5479

Find a directory of healthcare facilities at this link.