Tennessee getting a handle on drug addiction policy response

May 21, 2018

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A new study suggests Tennessee’s drug addiction problem may get worse before it gets better.

Credit wallethub.com

WMOT’s reporting partners at Wallethub.com have ranked the states by problem drug use. Tennessee ranked in the top 15 worst in the nation when considering factors such as the number of opioid prescriptions written, meth lab seizures, addiction rates, and rehab availability.

But Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez says the numbers reveal Tennessee has an even worse problem when considering drug abuse by young people.

“We’re seeing a large share of teenagers that have used illicit drugs in the past month, or have been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property in the past year. And unfortunately those numbers translate into adulthood as well.”

Gonzalez says if there’s a bright spot in Tennessee’s struggle with addiction it’s on the legal front. She notes the state has an effective prescription drug monitoring program up and running. She says Tennessee employee drug testing laws are also up to date.

“Tennessee I think certainly is on a good trajectory in terms of the policy in place. Now it comes down to actual enforcement and getting those numbers a little bit lower.”

Gonzalez says the District of Columbia, Missouri and New Hampshire have the nation’s worst drug problem. The states that seem to have a handle on addiction include Utah, Iowa and Minnesota.

Would you like to review the complete Wallethub study?