NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Adding 25 TBI agents, limiting emergency room prescriptions, and a new public awareness campaign are among dozens of recommendations from a Tennessee legislative task force on the state's opioid epidemic.
They come after months of meetings and dozens of witnesses before the task force. Every lawmaker on the opioid task force says the battle does not stop with the release of these recommendations.
“We have heard the agony,” says Rep. Curtis Johnson.
Dozens of recommendations about Tennessee's opioid epidemic are divided into treatment, prevention, and policy.
“We would like to see additional funding in the governor's initial budget. If not, I think you will this General Assembly provide more treatment for our citizens,” says House Speaker Beth Harwell.
The recommendations include:
- 25 more TBI agents
- Better access for addicts to substance abuse services
- Limits on emergency room prescriptions
- New public awareness campaign
A former prosecutor says more TBI agents to fight the influx of dangerous pills is key.
“It’s critical to have more agents on the ground. They investigate all kinds of things (murders, etc.), all the time, as they try to get their hands on the flood of Fentanyl coming into our state,” says Rep. William Lamberth.
What's missing for now are the bills fighting the opioid epidemic, and at what cost?
“It may cost some upfront money, but are you willing to save in the end? That is what you have to look at in the end too,” says Rep. Cameron Sexton.
Lawmakers estimate it already costs a billion dollars yearly for various Tennessee departments and agencies.
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