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State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Cookeville on Thursday, June 19

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 05:35am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney and other state and community leaders will discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Cookeville on Thursday, June 19. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

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 nearly 5 percent (about 221,000) have used pain relievers, also known as prescription opioids, in the past year for non-medical purposes; of those, it is estimated that 69,100 are addicted to prescription opioids and require treatment for prescription opioid abuse.

“The abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, is an epidemic in Tennessee, with disastrous and severe consequences to Tennesseans of every age,” Commissioner Varney said. “Things such as overdose deaths, emergency department visits, hospital costs, children in state custody, and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes can all be prevented and/or treated if we all work together and fight this deadly epidemic.”

WHO: Commissioner Varney, Judge Seth Norman of the 13th District Drug Court, Bill Gibson of the Power of Putnam anti-drug coalition, Vickie Harden of the Tennessee Co-Occurring Disorders Collaborative, and others

WHAT: Discussion of the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic and release of the “Prescription for Success: Statewide Strategies to Prevent and Treat the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in Tennessee” report. Also, specific data issues and strategies for the greater Cookeville area will be discussed.

WHEN/WHERE: 2 p.m. (Central Time) on Thursday, June 19, at Progressive Savings Bank, 1080 Interstate Drive, Cookeville

To access the full “Prescription for Success: Statewide Strategies to Prevent and Treat the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in Tennessee” report or the Executive Summary, go online to The plan was produced by the TDMHSAS in collaboration with the following other state agencies: Department of Health (TDH), Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), Department of Children’s Services (DCS), Department of Correction (TDOC), TennCare, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), and Tennessee Branch of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

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