War On Drugs Takes Place Amid State Budget Talks - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

War On Drugs Takes Place Amid State Budget Talks

Posted: Updated:

by Janet Kim

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Amid disappointing reports, Governor Bill Haslam began his annual budget hearings Tuesday morning. One of the hot button issues has been what substance abuse is costing the State of Tennessee.

The revenue year for the state has been tougher than expected.

Tennessee has one of the highest prescription drug abuse rates in the country. In recent years, state officials said Tennessee has ranked within the top three. It's why they're hopeful efforts tackling this issue will continue, regardless of the outcome of the budget hearings.

It's a war on drugs, and the state said it is fighting it head on.

"When you look at the war on drugs, it's really a war on the people that we love, our grandchildren, our siblings," said Department of Mental Health Commissioner, Doug Varney.

As budget hearings got underway, the topic of substance and prescription drug abuse came up more than once before Governor Haslam.

In addition to a 50 percent decrease in doctor shoppers from August 2012 to July 2013, the Department of Health reports it has seen a 269 percent increase in searches of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database, which gives doctors an opportunity to check the data base to see if their patients have other prescriptions.

Department of Mental Health discussed programs that are tackling recovery, but as budget talks continue the department heads know good programs still require funding.

"What we're really working towards is trying to help communities be more responsive with addiction and trying to take the discussion away from one of a moral issue and one of truly this is a medical problem," said Varney.

Along with Department of Health and Mental health, the governor heard from the Departments of Education and Human Services. Budget hearings will resume Wednesday. The Department of Correction and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations are among the agencies presenting.

Email: jkim@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5JanetKim
Twitter: Twitter.com/NC5_JanetKim

Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.