The Tennessee Opioid Crisis is growing. “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” said president Trump as he declared a state of emergency in August. More than 100 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. Recent data is revealing Tennessee is facing its own crisis, with more people dying from drug overdose than in car accidents. The Tennessee Department of Health issued a report that shows 1451 people lost their lives to drug overdose in 2015, more than any time in our state’s history.
Prescribed and used to treat pain, opioids, like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine are very effective. But the highly-addictive properties and potential for overdose have challenged clinicians as to the appropriate use and distribution. Tennessee has the second-highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country. In the past five years, we have lost 6,036 Tennesseans to overdose and nearly 72 percent of these deaths were opioid-related. And when the expense becomes too much for addicts, many turn to heroin, the illegal street drug also classified as an opioid. Nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin reported misusing prescription opioids first.
Fentanyl in the Tennessee Opioid Crisis
In April, the Tennessee Department of Health issued a Public Health & Safety Advisory on fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s used to manage intense pain post-surgery and sometimes used to manage chronic pain. But on the street, fentanyl is extremely dangerous as criminals are creating counterfeit versions of opioid pills that are often mixed with other drugs. Just one pill can be lethal.
“This is a life-threatening danger,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn in the advisory statement. “Our agents find themselves encountering fentanyl in a growing number of cases. Also troubling: Our crime labs across the state routinely analyze pills that look like one thing, but actually contain another. In a growing number of those cases, the pills contain fentanyl, which brings with it the potential for dangerous or deadly consequences.”
Fentanyl-related deaths have risen significantly from 69 deaths in 2014 to 174 in 2015.
Fighting the Opioid Crisis in Tennessee
In April, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. announced the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services would receive $13.8 million through the 21st Century Cures Act to help combat the prescription opioid epidemic in Tennessee – the largest federal funding increase for opioid treatment in the state’s history. Funds will be used for the continuum of care treatment, treatment for pregnant women, tele-treatment in rural counties, medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services.
If you or a loved one is experiencing opioid addiction, we can help. JourneyPure at the River offers addiction treatment in a peaceful homelike setting. Our experienced staff provides around-the-clock assistance to make the painful symptoms of withdrawal as comfortable as possible. Our holistic treatment plan helps heal the mind, body, and spirit with an acute focus on sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Contact our admissions team today.
From the JourneyPure team where we get to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. With years of experience working alongside those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues, we bring important messages with unparalleled knowledge of addiction, mental health problems, and the issues they cause.