Reaction To TN Task Force On Opioid Abuse Recommendations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( - The recommendations of a Tennessee task force on the opioid epidemic are being called "a start" in some quarters, but they are being criticized as well.

What was recommended in Nashville will reverberate for months on capitol hill and beyond.

“This is not the end of the battle,” says House Speaker Beth Harwell.

It’s a start, is how one medical provider described the recommendations of The Tennessee House Opioid Task Force. Others more optimistic.

“Incarceration is not the answer on this. I think treatment is,” says Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold.

Police can be overwhelmed by opioids hitting the streets, so they welcome a key recommendation of 25-more state TBI agents.

“Anytime TBI has more help that definitely means I am going to be calling them and asking for their help on things,” says Chief Arnold.

State Rep Brian Terry, who is an anesthesiologist, hopes any regulation does not hinder proper use of opioids for treating pain.

“You may end up pushing patients out or making it harder for patients to receive the care they need, so I want to make sure there is a balance,” says Dr. Terry.

A State Senate Democrat says the state fell behind in the opioid fight when hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans did not get coverage by expanding the state's Medicaid program, TennCare, with ObamaCare funds.

“If we are not going to talk about expanding Medicaid to insure that somebody can actually afford to get treatment, not having serious discussion we need to have,” says St. Sen. Jeff Yarbro.

We will hear about potential funding on the opioid crisis later this year during the Governor's budget hearings. Those hearings typically begin in late fall.



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