State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Tri-Cities on Friday, July 18
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney and Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner will join other state and community leaders to discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to the Tri-Cities area on Friday, July 18. 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 five (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, Commissioner Dreyzehner, Judge Todd Ross of the Hawkins County Recovery Court, Lisa Tipton of Families Free, Randy Jessee of Frontier Health, 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 Tri-Cities area will be discussed.
WHEN/WHERE: Noon (Eastern Time) on Friday, July 18, at the Boones Creek Christian Church, 305 Christian Church Rd., Johnson City.
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 tn.gov/mental/prescriptionforsuccess. 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).