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opioids

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

After months of deliberation, Tennessee is joining five other states and suing a major drug maker for its role in the opioid epidemic.

The suit against Purdue Pharma follows a lengthy investigation by the Tennessee attorney general into several drug companies and distributors.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam presented a limited agenda Monday night, in an unusually reflective and retrospective State of the State speech.

In his final statewide address as governor, Haslam spent most of his time highlighting what he sees as his successes, including low unemployment and an improving education system. But as for new proposals — there weren't very many.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Creating a 500-bed treatment facility for addicted inmates, limiting the duration of new opioid prescriptions to just a few days, and putting more drug enforcement officers on the streets.

Those are some of the ideas Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is pitching to combat the opioid crisis  — which despite past efforts, has continued to worsen.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Twenty-five more drug agents.

That's what the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is hoping to add in the coming year to aid in efforts to combat the illegal trade in painkillers —  just one of the ways that the opioid epidemic is reshaping state agencies' spending priorities.

courtesy House Energy and Commerce Committee

Congressman Marsha Blackburn is blaming the Drug Enforcement Administration for not speaking up if legislation she co-sponsored is causing such a problem. An investigation by "60 Minutes" and the Washington Post highlighted her role in a law that made it tougher for the DEA to regulate opioids.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn says Congress will start work next week on fixing any damage that may have been caused by an opioid measure that she helped get passed into law.

Gage Skidmore / via Flickr

Rep. Marsha Blackburn's office is responding, after being named in an investigation by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes for her role in legislation that "aided" in the explosion of the opioid epidemic.

A spokesman suggests the measure may have produced "unintended consequences" that Congress could revisit.

Blake Farmer / WPLN (File photo)

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.

Wheeler Cowperthwaite / via Flickr Creative Commons

The combining of powerful drugs — both purposeful and unintentional — is making Tennessee’s opioid epidemic even more deadly. The latest figures out this month show 2016 was another record year for overdoses in the state — more than 1,600 people died. And experts say risky drug cocktails are compounding the problem.

TBI Tennessee Bureau of Investigation office
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (File photo)

Limits on pain medication, more law enforcement officers and expanded use of a drug that blocks the brain's ability to get high are some of the recommendations a team of Tennessee lawmakers has come up with to combat opioid abuse after nine months studying the issue. But no one has figured out yet how much their solutions will cost, and it could be next year before there's a final price tag.