published Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Tennessee can't get grip on pill problem

TN has some of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in U.S.

Across Tennessee, families measure the state's pain pill epidemic in terms of loved-ones lost to overdoses and loved-ones battling addiction.
Across Tennessee, families measure the state's pain pill epidemic in terms of loved-ones lost to overdoses and loved-ones battling addiction.
Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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In spite of efforts to crack down on the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, a new report shows nearly 18 million prescriptions for controlled substances such as OxyContin and hydrocodone were dispensed in Tennessee last year — a 23 percent increase from the previous year.

The surging figures in the report to the General Assembly are a setback for those fighting on the front lines of the prescription drug problem.

“We’re in jeopardy of losing an entire generation of our youth to addiction if we don’t get a grip on this,” said Tommy Farmer, an assistant special agent in charge of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “I mean that sincerely.”

Read more at the Tennessean.

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