Tennessee Funnels Federal Money To Opioid Addiction Treatment For Patients Who Can't Pay | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Funnels Federal Money To Opioid Addiction Treatment For Patients Who Can't Pay

Sep 27, 2017

Tennessee is getting $6 million to fund addiction treatment primarily for the state's uninsured. The money will be targeted at six counties, including Davidson.

This money is specifically for what's known as medication-assisted treatment for people with opioid addictions. This could be methadone, Buprenorphine or injectable medication like Vivitrol that helps step people down off of heroin, painkillers or a combination of both.

Using an opiate to get off of harder drugs is widely accepted but still controversial to some in the addiction treatment community. And in a statement, Tennessee's commissioner of mental health and substance abuse acknowledges that no single treatment can work for all patients.

"For the people who can benefit from medication-assisted treatment, we know that the cost is often a barrier," Commissioner Marie Williams says in a statement. "This targeted funding will go a long way to making sure patients continue treatment in pursuit of recovery."

The money will be used to pay the bills of patients who don't have coverage and see a participating doctor with experience prescribing for opioid treatment. The federal money should cover more than 600 people in six counties.

The latest estimates show more than 200,000 Tennesseans are abusing prescription opioids.