Gov. Haslam rolls out $30 million opioid plan

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has unveiled a 30-million dollar plan to combat the opioid crisis. The governor divided his “TN Together” plan into three points — prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

The headlining idea proposes a five-day prescription limit.

“There are really good studies out there that show if you go beyond a three to five day supply that you increase by double the risk of addictions,” said Dr. Anita Shumaker, president of the Tennessee Medical Association and pediatric doctor in Hixson.

But doctors are concerned about the procedures that need longer recovery times.

“Some things may need seven to ten days. But there’s also other things for pain that work as well or better,” said Phillip Smith, pharmacist at Access Pharmacy in Hixson.

The governor’s plan also lists recovery units and overdose reversal drugs, which will be resources for those already addicted.

But it still comes down to the initial prescription.

“So now we’ve all got to start thinking about patients and doctors to say ‘Wait a minute, this medicines are actually pretty dangerous.'” Dr. Shumaker said. “You would think talking about accidental death and overdose would give people pause.”

Overall, Tennessee’s medical world is happy the state finally has a plan.

“I mean, I think anything is good. Right now we need to be throwing everything we can at it,” Smith said.

“It is going to make a difference when you look at some other states that have done an initial prescription in that opioid naive patient it does make a difference,” Shumaker said.

Pharmacists urge patients to dispose of left-over prescription drugs. You can bring them to a drug take-back at a local police station. You can also mix the extras with cat litter or coffee grounds, put it all in a container that doesn’t leak and throw it in the trash.

However, officials say you should not flush the medications down the toilet.

Make sure you talk to your doctor about the medications they prescribe you and how to properly dispose of your specific pills.

Categories: Health, Local News

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