TDMHSAS Welcomes Opioid Abatement Council Executive Director

Longtime public servant Mary Shelton to support Council’s work
Monday, September 12, 2022 | 02:30pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is excited to welcome Mary Shelton as the Executive Director of Tennessee’s Opioid Abatement Council.

As Executive Director, Shelton provides day-to-day leadership, management, and oversight for the functions of the Council, directly supports Council members, and will supervise Council staff.  She was selected by a unanimous vote of the Council’s membership at their first meeting on July 8, 2022.

Tennessee's Opioid Abatement Council was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in Public Chapter 491 to manage the disbursement of proceeds from lawsuits relating to opioids.  The Council upholds the responsibility to ensure the disbursements of these funds go toward funding programs, strategies, expenditures, and other actions designed to prevent and address the misuse and abuse of opioid products and treat or mitigate opioid use or related disorders or other effects of the opioid epidemic. 

“We are so excited to have Mary Shelton join our team to lead this important new initiative.  Her attention to detail, organization, and communication skills will be essential in ensuring that the Opioid Abatement Council is able to live up to its mission and get funding into Tennessee communities that have been so greatly harmed by the opioid crisis,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.

“I can’t think of anyone who is better positioned than to lead in this work than Mary Shelton.  What she brings from a Medicaid standpoint and understanding the issues and challenges that we face in the delivery of care to this population will exponentially increase our ability to improve the lives of people who have been touched by opioid addiction,” said Opioid Abatement Council Chair Stephen Loyd, MD.

Shelton has significant experience in behavioral health, working previously with TDMHSAS and most recently at TennCare managing mental health and substance use services for the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries.  She is a 26-year state employee with an undergraduate degree from Tennessee Technological University, a graduate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at East Tennessee State University.

Learn more about Tennessee’s Opioid Abatement Council at