Drugs Said To Drive Up Costs In Several Tennessee Budget Hearings; Governor Unsure As To Why Now

Governor Bill Haslam points to Tennessee's Department of Children's Services, where many of the cases stem from problems with drugs, and where custody of one child can cost many thousands of dollars. (Credit WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Governor Bill Haslam points to Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services, where many of the cases stem from problems with drugs, and where custody of one child can cost many thousands of dollars. (Credit WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Governor Bill Haslam says it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s behind an apparent uptick of drug abuse costing the state money.

Several Tennessee commissioners have blamed drugs for rising costs in budget hearings in the last week.

The state Bureau of Investigation, the Health Department, and Children’s Services have all pointed to growing problems with drugs.  Haslam says there’s no doubt it’s an issue, but the reason behind it is less clear.

“We are seeing an increased number, and our numbers feel a lot worse than the national averages.  What you’re seeing there, I can’t drive down to the root cause.  I wish I knew.” 

Haslam says in particular, prescription drug abuse seems a problem.  He noted the state’s recent push on a registration system for prescriptions.  And he left the possibility open of more drug laws next year.


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