Tennessee Drug and Alcohol Abuse Statistics and Trends

The United States is currently facing a widespread issue with substance abuse. Despite countless efforts by federal, state, and local entities, the number of overdose deaths in the country climbed at an alarming rate over the past few years with little sign of slowing. Of all the substances that can potentially kill users, opioids are by far the deadliest. While the dangers of heroin – a popular illegal opioid – have been well known for decades, the leading cause of overdose deaths is actually prescription opioids.

Dangers of Prescription Opioids

There are many types of opioids available through prescriptions. Oxycodone and hydrocodone are often chosen as painkillers. Although physicians prescribe them, they can easily become habit-forming and lead to serious addiction. While every state contends with unique issues when it comes to curbing substance abuse and overdose deaths, Tennessee displays some worrisome trends. Over the past several years, Tennessee has hosted some of the highest overdose numbers and drug-related crime statistics in the country.

Between 2011 and 2015, over 6,000 lives were lost in Tennessee due to overdose deaths. The rates per 100,000 residents have steadily climbed in this time:

  • 2011: 1,062 deaths, a rate of 16.6
  • 2012: 1,094 deaths, a rate of 16.9
  • 2013: 1,116 deaths, a rate of 17.9
  • 2014: 1,263 deaths, a rate of 19.3
  • 2015: 1,451 deaths, a rate of 22

The worst aspect of these figures is the fact that every drug overdose death is preventable with the right awareness, education, and treatment. Tennessee lawmakers have enacted several policies aimed at curbing the disconcerting rise in overdose deaths. In 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly authorized Tennessee pharmacies to carry naloxone to anyone who may be at risk of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is one of the few medicines capable of keeping an overdose victim alive long enough to receive thorough medical treatment.

Statistics for Addiction TreatmentIn addition to the issue with prescription opioids, Tennessee also has a large problem with methamphetamine. State research and crime data estimate that there are roughly 800 methamphetamine laboratories in operation at any given time in the state. Meth labs are notoriously dangerous. Due to the nature of the chemicals used in the methamphetamine production process and typically substandard safety conditions in makeshift labs, explosions and environmental damage are common. Methamphetamine is extremely addictive and can do permanent damage to the brain and body. Additionally, toxic chemicals used in the production process can be deadly.

Substance Abuse Challenges Facing Tennessee

If you compare the trends in overdose deaths linked to prescription opioids to opioid sales over the same years, the growth matches very closely. As the number of prescriptions written has increased, so has the number of overdose deaths. The number of heroin overdose deaths has also risen by comparable numbers in recent years. There are several reasons these things could be happening in Tennessee:

  • Physicians are too liberal with prescribing opioids. Although these drugs are very effective at eliminating pain, they should only be prescribed when other pain management options fail or when no other medication will offer the patient relief.
  • Patients are unaware of the risks. Many people may mistakenly assume prescription opioids are safe simply because a doctor prescribed them. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and physicians must take the time to thoroughly explain the risks of prescription opioids. If patients know the risks and can spot the early warning signs of addiction, they have a better chance of avoiding a serious addiction.
  • Addiction carries a social stigma. Once someone realizes he or she is addicted, the fear of judgment and ostracism may deter them from seeking prompt treatment and counseling. Additionally, this can also lead to alienation from the people most likely to support them through treatment.
  • Doctor shopping. Some addicts will visit several doctors in an attempt to obtain multiple prescriptions for opioids. Once they have them, they will go to multiple pharmacies to have them filled. Drug dealers will often use this method to obtain a high volume of pills to sell on the black market.
  • Heroin is a cheap alternative. Buying prescription pills from drug dealers is generally expensive, so when an addict’s prescription can no longer be refilled, he or she will often turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. Although molecularly similar to other opioids, heroin is illegal and therefore is not regulated. Dealers will often cut their heroin supplies with other substances in order to sell more volume and make more profit. This puts users at great risk.

Out of State Treatment Options

While Tennessee has bolstered its in-state drug and alcohol treatment measures, many Tennessee addicts may find the rural locations a hindrance to traveling to a recovery center on a consistent basis. There are high-quality treatment centers available, but they may not be accessible to everyone. Many Tennessee addicts find that out-of-state treatment provides a better quality experience.

Florida is often the top choice for addicts across the country. Dubbed “The Recovery State,” Florida is home to some of the most cutting-edge treatment centers and the most experienced substance abuse doctors in the country. For years, the ports of Miami and other areas of Florida have been hubs for drug traffickers. The sheer quantity of cargo passing through Florida at any given time makes hiding drug shipments relatively easy, so drugs entering the United States from other countries often make their first appearance in Florida.

The Treatment Center

Of all the available options for substance abuse treatment in Florida, we at The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, LLC believe that our standard of care eclipses other organizations. Our team is committed to helping every patient embrace lifelong sobriety, and we do not use one-size-fits-all treatment plans. Every addict is different, and we provide comprehensive, medically assisted detoxification as well as several options for continual care and counseling.

The Treatment Center staff also knows that there is a very relevant link between substance abuse and behavioral health, which is why we also offer dual diagnosis treatment. Struggling with mental health issues can make substance abuse recovery astronomically more difficult, and our team develops holistic treatment plans to work with each patient’s unique situation. Contact us for more information about how The Treatment Center is the best substance abuse recovery center in Florida.

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