Tennessee, nicknamed the Volunteer State, is an incredibly diverse state with its own unique culture, history, and attractions. Its rolling hills are home to the Great Smokey Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and Cumberland Plateau. The capital city is Nashville, also known as Music City. However, there are plenty more cultural hotspots.
Memphis is home to the famous Graceland and Beale Street. At the same time, Chattanooga is packed full of outdoor attractions like Rock City and Ruby Falls. Unfortunately, Tennessee also consistently ranks among the highest U.S. state substance abuse rates. Also, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.6% of Tennessee’s population lives below the poverty level. They note this is 6.25% higher than the national average.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) reports 80% of crimes are drug-related each year. The opioid epidemic sweeping the nation is one of the key drivers behind this rate. However, there are many resources available in Tennessee for addiction treatment.
Tennessee has a serious problem with drug use, especially among the younger generations. In fact, Tennessee is ranked number three in the nation for opioid prescriptions per 100 persons. Further, they rank fifth for deaths related to opioid overdoses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a record 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021. The Tennessee Department of Health 2021 data shows 3,814 overdose deaths in the state. Substance abuse is an issue that affects all of Tennessee’s communities.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 375,000 adults in Tennessee have struggled with a substance use disorder during 2019. As many as one in five high school students reported misusing prescription drugs within the last thirty days, compared to only four percent nationally. The issue is so widespread that it has begun to affect Tennessee’s labor force. As a result, one-quarter of all employers have reported difficulty finding candidates who are not already dependent on opioids or other drugs.
These issues are creating real and devastating consequences for Tennessee citizens. In addition to overdose deaths, illicit drug use can lead to impaired cognition, increased risk of accident and injury, poor educational outcomes, unemployment rates, and more criminal activity. Furthermore, these problems hit vulnerable populations such as teens and young adults as they couldn’t identify risky behaviors and harmful decisions.
Tennessee is beginning to take action against this epidemic. Consequently, they recently passed legislation requiring medical professionals to become certified before prescribing opioids. Also, they are expanding access to treatment services as well as increasing public awareness about the dangers of substance misuse. However, there is still much work left to do if Tennessee hopes to make a lasting impact on its drug crisis.
In Tennessee, Substance Use Prevention Coalitions are leading the charge in fighting addiction and substance abuse. Supported by state funding since 2008, these coalitions spread awareness about the harms of drugs like alcohol and tobacco as well as dangerous opioids.
Additionally, there are special initiatives for overdose prevention, treatment referral services, and faith-based outreach to help those who need addiction treatment in Tennessee.
As the opioid crisis ravages America, Tennessee stands out as a particularly vulnerable epicenter. A perfect storm of factors has created an environment conducive to addiction and abuse. The high poverty rates in the state remain a major factor.
Another contributor is big pharma’s marketing schemes targeting economically disadvantaged areas that have a physically demanding labor force. Moreover, a lack of regulation on opioid prescribing from the state or federal government.
As a result, the opioid epidemic has had an alarming effect on Tennesseans, with the number of drug overdoses increasing every year since 2013. In 2017, only four states (West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania) had a higher prescription rate for opioids than Tennessee.
The state’s high rate of prescription is a contributing factor to its opioid problem. In fact, it was estimated that one in ten Tennesseans were prescribed an opioid painkiller. That’s almost double the national average.
As well as prescribing too many opioids, doctors in Tennessee have been found to be lax when it comes to monitoring patients who have been prescribed these drugs. Therefore some users are able to obtain multiple prescriptions from multiple providers without being monitored. Thus, their risk of substance abuse and overdose increases.
In response to this epidemic, the state government created the TN Together initiative which aims to reduce opioid abuse and addiction through various methods. This includes public awareness campaigns and tighter regulations on opioids. There are also initiatives dedicated specifically to helping those currently struggling with substance use disorders.
Additionally, by providing treatment options and support services such as residential rehab centers and counseling programs.
Recently, Purdue Pharma reached an agreement to settle a major lawsuit. The suit was brought by the state’s Attorney General, over the company’s alleged deceptive marketing practices in the sale of prescription opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone. In settling, Purdue Pharma will pay $8 million to the state and implement a number of initiatives designed to combat opioid addiction. This includes providing education programs on proper pain management and substance abuse prevention.
Purdue Pharma was accused of using deceptive tactics to market its drugs, including downplaying addiction risks while exaggerating their potential benefits. Also, the company allegedly offered kickbacks to doctors who prescribed higher doses of these drugs than necessary. This lawsuit is part of a larger effort by states across the country to hold drug companies accountable for their part in fueling the current opioid crisis.
The settlement with Purdue Pharma is just one victory among many in a nationwide effort against pharmaceutical companies’ role in contributing to opioid addiction rates. Other states are still pursuing legal action against drug manufacturers for similar issues with no resolution yet in sight. Additionally, there has been increasing pressure from public health advocates for federal legislation that would hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their marketing practices related to opioids and other dangerous substances.
Finding the right addiction treatment in Tennessee can be a difficult and confusing process. Fortunately, there are many options available to those seeking help for their addiction. There are rehabilitation centers across the state offering inpatient and outpatient programs, support groups, detoxification services, and medication-assisted treatments.
Inpatient rehabs provide 24-hour care in a residential facility. There, clinical care and supportive therapies are tailored to each person’s needs. Outpatient programs offer flexibility while still providing addiction treatment services. Typically, these include individual therapy, group counseling, relapse prevention education, and aftercare plans.
Tennessee also offers resources for non-traditional treatments. These include art therapy, mindfulness practices, music therapy, equine therapy, yoga classes, nutrition seminars, and more. These alternative treatments help people learn healthier coping skills to help reduce cravings for drugs or alcohol over time.
After completing a drug or alcohol rehab program, there is still much more to be done to maintain sobriety. Aftercare such as support groups and meetings is key for recovering individuals. Accordingly, they can build relationships with like-minded peers and have an outlet where their recovery remains a priority. Making support group attendance part of a weekly routine helps ensure that relapse risks remain low while also making the process fun and social.
Recovery support groups and meetings are available in Tennessee where individuals can receive guidance and support to make positive changes in their lives. There are many nonprofit organizations that provide recovery support services to those who need it, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Celebrate Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and SMART Recovery.
These organizations offer a range of services including educational programs, therapeutic groups, and individual counseling. They also provide crisis intervention services as well as referrals for medical treatment or other types of assistance. They typically offer both in-person meetings and virtual meetings for those who cannot attend in person or prefer the convenience of virtual attendance.
Additionally, there are a number of government agencies that can be consulted for information about recovery support groups and meetings in Tennessee such as the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) which provides information about substance abuse resources in the state.
Finally, there are many church-based ministries throughout Tennessee that focus on providing spiritual care for those struggling with addiction. These churches often host weekly or monthly meetings where individuals can receive prayer, fellowship with others facing similar struggles, and learn more about recovery options available to them in the community.
Freeman Recovery Center is committed to providing quality addiction treatment services for those seeking recovery from substance use disorders. It is important to take the time to find the best program for you or your loved one in order to ensure success on the recovery journey toward lasting sobriety.
Contact us today to learn more about our approach to addiction treatment in Tennessee.