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Tennessee and Opioid Overdoses

 

opiod overdose deaths

Big pharma companies are finally paying big time for how they contributed to the opioid crisis that has plagued the U.S. for the past 30 years. Four opioid manufacturing companies will spend about 26 billion in combined settlement fees. Tennessee could see around 600 million of that money, as we are one of the states hit hardest by opioid addictions. 

One of the biggest drivers of the opioid crisis was the company Purdue Pharma and its fraudulent depiction of OxyContin. They assured that the drug was less addictive than other opioids, but this was proven to be untrue. The FDA approval of this drug did not help matters, and soon, the medication was widely prescribed. Pharmaceutical companies often gave large donations to political figures, which in turn influenced public policy.  

"In 2018, Tennessee providers wrote 81.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This was the third-highest prescribing rate in the country and more than the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions." 

Around 250 million dollars will be dispersed directly to Tennessee counties to be used as seen fit to curb the effects of the opioid crisis. Many assume this could be creating new resources or contributing to already in place rehabilitation centers. Money will be allocated mainly through population and need — as in, some counties may have a lower population but a higher percent of overdoses. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 times stronger than morphine. When prescribed legally, it is used only in extreme pain management circumstances. Opioids were involved in 46,802 overdose deaths in 2018—nearly 70% of all overdose deaths. Over the past two years, more people died from overdoses, and research shows fentanyl is to blame. Tennessee had the fifth-highest overdose death rate in the United States last year. Because fentanyl is so powerful, it is often used to make low-quality drugs more potent. Still, even a few too many grains will likely lead to overdose. 

Approximately 70,000 Tennesseans are addicted to opioids, but only a fraction seek help. The money available over the next few years will help Tennessee make great strides toward helping these people find treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 25 of the state's 51 rural counties as being in the top 5 percent of U.S. counties vulnerable to the rapid spread of HIV and hepatitis C, diseases that are often associated with illicit drug use. Oftentimes, rural areas don't have rehabilitation facilities. People may have to travel for hours to find treatment or don't see rehab as an option.  

Big cities like Nashville are doing no better. First quarter 2022 stats show almost 80 percent of drug overdoses within Nashville detected fentanyl, indicating the pattern discovered in 2018 continues. Task forces have been created to raise awareness about the dangers surrounding synthetic drugs like fentanyl.  

Naloxone (Narcan) is often the first defense when someone is in the midst of an overdose. It works by rapidly reversing an opioid overdose. In 2014, a good Samaritan law was passed concerning Narcan. Any trained person with reasonable suspicion to believe someone is experiencing an opioid overdose can administer it with immunity from civil suit. Many Narcan training programs are in place, and the content can be easily found on the TN.gov website. 

The question still remains: what can be done? The money given to Tennessee from this settlement is a great thing, but throwing money at the problem won't solve anything. In reality, there may be no end to the opioid problem. However, can try our best to prevent addiction while helping current addicts understand there are options for recovery.  

Many reports now indicate that the key to "ending" this opioid epidemic is to create fundamental changes to the treatment of addictions. Often, these treatments are separate and less quality than other types of healthcare. By fully engraining addiction treatment into mainstream healthcare, we can ensure they get the funding they need while also ensuring private and government insurance cover the cost.  

According to the T.N. Together website, three people die from an opioid-related cause every day. People who fight opioid dependence deserve every chance to have a life unbound by addiction. They need to be given the tools to do so. 

At 8 Oaks, our purpose is to provide a safe place for men to heal and learn so they can go back to the life they deserve. Addiction can never be solved with money alone because it’s an issue of the heart.  When men come to 8 Oaks, we look to understand what brought people to addiction in the first place and what keeps them coming back. The heart is deep and can be difficult to navigate, but with our trained and licensed professionals, we are equipped to walk alongside others looking to break the power of addiction.

If you or someone you know needs help, please feel free to call us at 931-903-2500 and we can help you with any questions you might have. For more information, please visit our home page at www.the8oaks.com

Sources:

https://wpln.org/post/tennessees-600m-opioid-settlement-win-will-be-split-more-than-100-ways-over-the-next-18-years/

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/attorneygeneral/documents/foi/opioids-settlements/county-summary.pdf

NIDA. 2020, April 3. Tennessee: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/tennessee-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms on 2022, April 25

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/what-led-to-the-opioid-crisis-and-how-to-fix-it/

About Us

8 Oaks Recovery is a Christ-centered addiction recovery program located in Wayne County, TN. We offer a unique treatment approach blending spiritual and clinical work. We work with adult males ages 18-65 years old.

Licensing & Accreditation

The 8 Oaks is licensed by the State of Tennessee and accredited by The Joint Commission, the national leader in healthcare organization accreditation.

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Westpoint, Tennessee  38486

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