painkillers | Nashville Public Radio

painkillers

Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Medication used to treat opioid addiction has now been blamed as a factor in dozens of overdose deaths in Tennessee. According to data released by the state health department, toxicology reports found buprenorphine played a role in 67 of the 1,600 overdose deaths in 2016.

Artur Bergman / via Flickr

The big hospital chains based in Nashville are accepting some of the blame for the country's opioid crisis, which grows more deadly by the year. They admit they were going overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible. So in an effort to be part of the cure, they're issuing an uncomfortable warning to patients — you're going to feel some pain.

U.S. Air Force photo illustration / Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner

Tennessee counties are joining the list of entities suing pharmaceutical companies over opioids. Smith County is the first to file suit in federal court. Davidson County is likely to follow after approval by the Metro Council Tuesday night.

courtesy TBI

Forensic experts say they're alarmed by two drug combinations that recently showed up in the TBI crime lab. One is a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine. Another is cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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.

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.

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.

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.

coutresy Scott DesJarlais via Twitter

Congressman Scott DesJarlais wants a crackdown on patients who share pills. The Republican who represents Murfreesboro was once a doctor himself.

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