Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery says he’s content with Purdue Pharma using Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to pay out a $10 billion settlement the company reached with his and 28 other states in a lawsuit this past week; but says the payouts need to come quickly to combat opioid addiction in Tennessee. Slatery says the money will go toward Tennessee addiction treatment and prevention resources to counteract the wave of painkiller abuse that has consumed much of the state. While others have called the decision a “slap in the face”, as it permits Purdue to avoid admitting any wrongdoing, Slatery says his state is suffering and needs help immediately.
A Deeper Look at Tennessee Opioid Addiction
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that there were 1,269 opioid deaths in Tennessee in 2017. Part of the problem has been consistently high rates of prescription state healthcare professionals. Tennessee currently ranks highest in the country for rates of opioid prescriptions (94.4 scripts for every 100 residents). While this represents a 25 percent decrease in the state’s opioid pain reliever prescription rates since 2019, it is still an alarmingly high figure. The epidemic has had significant impact on public health and quality of life in the state.
Combating Opioid Addiction in Tennessee
In 2018, Tennessee passed a comprehensive opioid addiction prevention initiative called “TN Together” to help counteract the effects of the crisis. TN together provides a broad array of education resources and tips for helping an addicted loved one get treatment. While holding pharma companies accountable and cracking down on overzealous prescription practices is a critical part of curtailing opioid addiction in Tennessee, these elements must also be met with treatment, education and community mobilization. Recovery Unplugged offers comprehensive music-assisted opioid addiction treatment in Tennessee for residents who are struggling. Get the help you need today.