Prescription Overdose Deaths Double In Tennessee And More Than Two Dozen Other States

Tennessee ties with Utah for the number of deaths by prescription overdose. Neighboring Kentucky ranks third.  While deaths have increased, the report finds the total number of Americans abusing prescription drugs decreased from 7 million in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2011. Image: e-MagineArt/Flickr

Tennessee ties with Utah for the number of deaths by prescription overdose. Neighboring Kentucky ranks third. While deaths have increased, the report finds the total number of Americans abusing prescription drugs decreased from 7 million in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2011. Image: e-MagineArt/Flickr

Deaths from prescription drug overdoses in Tennessee doubled over a decade, according to a report out Monday. The state now ranks eighth in the nation for such deaths.

The report from Trust for America’s health uses figures from 2010, the latest year data is available. In Tennessee that year, 17 of every 100,000 residents died of prescription overdose. It’s one of 29 states where deaths doubled over the previous decade.

The report also grades state’s efforts to curb prescription abuse. Tennessee does what many states do, with a computer database to monitor prescription purchases and requiring patients to undergo a physical exam before being prescribed a controlled substance.

A number of new state laws went into effect this month. Doctors can’t prescribe more than 30 days supply of painkillers containing opioids. The Tennessee legislature has also enacted new restrictions on pain clinics, sometimes referred to as “pill mills.”

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