TBI: Tennessee’s Next Epidemic Is Heroin

According to Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, hospital ER visits related to heroin use are on the rise. Credit: Thomas Marthinsen via Flickr

According to Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, hospital ER visits related to heroin use are on the rise. Credit: Thomas Marthinsen via Flickr

Heroin may be the next drug of choice for users in Tennessee. The head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation predicts pain pill addicts are looking for a new high.

Tennessee leads the country in abuse of prescription drugs. Heroin is a natural next step, TBI director Mark Gwyn said Wednesday.

“We’ve already got that base of people addicted to those opioids,” he told members of the Haslam Administration at an annual briefing.

Gwyn predicts a spike in heroin use as pill abusers, “try to find that next level and as we try to squeeze in on the prescription drugs that are out there.”

New state laws limit “doctor shopping” that is used to get multiple prescriptions.

Heroin is also much cheaper than it used to be, primarily due to competition from Mexican cartels, Gwyn said.

Just a few months ago, TBI’s drug division took down a million dollar drug deal, confiscating 12 kilograms of heroin.

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