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Veterans Affairs hospitals are taking a page from the pharmaceutical playbook — and reversing it. They've hired what are effectively 285 drug company representatives across the country, including one for every VA hospital in Tennessee and Kentucky. But instead of encouraging physicians to prescribe, they're often counseling doctors against giving their patients opioids.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The Tennessee Department of Education has been ordered to respond soon to a lawsuit filed by Measurement Incorporated that seeks $25.7 million in payment from the state.

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A state audit of the Department of Correction released on Tuesday highlights a number of issues plaguing prisons in Tennessee. The biggest issue is a shortage of correctional officers, which could put inmates and other prison staff at risk.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Williamson County voters will decide early next year whether to raise the local sales tax by half a cent to help fund the school district. The local option rate would go from 2.25 to 2.75 cents if approved.

Blake Farmer / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee's Health Department is hiring special investigators to keep tabs on the state's compounding pharmacies, which make small-batch, custom drugs. The move is partially in response to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012.

Jennifer Clampet / Army Medicine via Flickr

Researchers are turning to Tennessee to find a middle ground on the use of opioids for treating chronic pain. A new study is recruiting 1,000 patients in Tennessee and North Carolina who are taking opioids for chronic pain — a move that comes at a time of conflicting opinions about whether addictive narcotics should even be used to treat long-term pain, unless it's cancer-related.

TN Photo Services

The state of Tennessee is asking for $2 million next year to whip the Memphis Regional Megasite into shape, a process that will include hiring an outside consultant to assess why the decade-long project hasn't yet landed a major manufacturer.

Natasha Senjanovic / WPLN

In Nashville — and across the country — the number of chronically ill people who need round-the-clock care is rising. The vast majority are baby boomers, and most of the people looking after them aren’t much younger. One local nonprofit offers caregivers a break from their duties — at no cost. Yet despite the growing need, the organization says most families in Davidson County don’t know about the service.

David Goehring / via Flickr

TennCare has tightened controls on opioid prescriptions in recent years, and the state's Medicaid program plans to go a step further next year. It's an effort to decrease the use of highly addictive narcotics — and save some money.

California Department of Transportation

Driverless cars may still be a few years away, but Tennessee highway officials say they're already starting to invest in intelligent technologies to help with congestion woes.

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