Local law enforcement and health agencies in Tennessee have made significant efforts to curb the substance abuse epidemic that has persisted in the state. Nonetheless, many residents remain trapped in addictions to alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination of substances. The availability of illicit drugs such as heroin continues to pose a large public health threat. Yet, the abuse of prescription opioids has become an even more prevalent problem in the state.
Tennessee consistently ranks near the top of US state substance abuse rates. Perhaps the most significant driver of this has been the opioid epidemic that has affected the entire nation. However, in Tennessee, deaths related to fentanyl increased by 46% between 2018 and 2019.
Prescription drug abuse is a major issue not just nationwide but in Tennessee in particular. The state ranks third in the country for prescription drug abuse across all demographics. This struggle with substance use disorder doesn’t just affect the individual alone. Most people abusing prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes got them from a friend or relative. This leads to significant amounts of people needing treatment. In 2019, Tennessee saw over 16,000 overdose outpatient visits and over 7000 inpatient stays.
Despite the rise in opioid addictions, alcohol abuse statistics have remained stable, making it the most commonly abused substance in Tennessee. IN 2016, 1 in 20 Tennessee Residents either abused alcohol or had a physical dependence to the substance. Further, over 27,000 residents in 2016 were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol is still the most abused substance by teens in the state. One in five students reported binge drinking in 2018, and the average age for first using alcohol was nearly 14 years of age. In the same study, a large majority of Tennessee teens found no difficulty in getting access to alcohol. When adolescents and young adults begin drinking at an early age, they vastly increase the danger of developing an alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction as an adult.
Many prescription medications designed to help patients with chronic pain can be habit-forming. Oxycodone and hydrocodone are the most commonly abused of these painkillers. Although physicians legally prescribe them, these medications often end up on the black market, which has led to a surge in drug-related crimes in Tennessee.
In recent years, the sometimes criminal over-prescription of opioid painkillers has contributed to an increase in opioid use disorders throughout the state. Because of the potency of opioid painkillers, individuals can become addicted relatively quickly and unintentionally. In Tennessee, providers wrote 81.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons in 2018. When compared to the national average of 51.4 prescriptions, Tennessee had the third-highest prescription rate. This massive and excessive amount of prescribing is one factor contributing to the opioid epidemic in the state.
Opioid overdoses have become so widespread that the Tennessee General Assembly has permitted pharmacies to carry naloxone, a medication used to negate the effects of an opioid overdose.
Opioid use disorder continues to be an epidemic across the nation. In Tennessee, it is especially acute. Fortunately, there are options available to help people heal from the disease of addiction. At Lakeview Health, we offer comprehensive opioid addiction treatment.
Drugs like cocaine, heroin, and especially methamphetamine continue to pose a public health threat in Tennessee. The production of meth is extremely dangerous. The combination of chemicals used to make it are highly flammable and produce poisonous fumes. Given that meth is often cooked in makeshift labs, explosions from it are all too common. Furthermore, even when explosions do not occur, fumes can cause serious and permanent negative health effects to those living nearby. Aside from those risks, meth can cause long-term damage to users’ brains and bodies.
While more people have sought out support to treat their drug or alcohol addiction, there are still thousands who do not.
Addictions are often not limited to one substance. Unfortunately, combining different drugs can result in more dire consequences than taking any drug individually. For example, alcohol, opioids, and prescription medications like Xanax can exacerbate the effects of each other if taken together. About one-third of patients admitted to substance abuse treatment are seeking help for both drugs and alcohol. This condition is referred to as polysubstance abuse.
There is a significant overlap between mental illness and substance abuse, so mental health support is vital to successful addiction treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported in 2010 that nearly 250,000 adults and 66,000 children had a mental health condition that impacted their day-to-day life.
At Lakeview Health, one of our addiction treatment programs is designed to help individuals struggling with substance use disorder (addiction to drugs or alcohol) and a mental health condition. When a person has both of these conditions, professionals refer to them as individuals with a co-occurring disorder. Without treating both conditions simultaneously, individuals are less likely to heal from either and are more susceptible to relapse. Fortunately, our dual diagnosis treatment program is specially designed for those with a co-occurring disorder.
Some of the mental health conditions we treat include:
Lakeview Health is a nationwide organization that helps Americans who are struggling with alcohol and drug addictions. Although we are based in Florida, we invite patients from all over the nation to come for treatment. Our team understands the specific challenges that residents from different regions face, and we can help individuals navigate logistical hurdles so that they can get the treatment they need. If you or someone you love is suffering due to substance abuse, call our admissions team at 904.677.5010 to speak with someone today and learn about how we can help.
Learn more about substance abuse statistics across the United States.
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