TN Prescription Drug Abuse Soars–A Generation of Youth At Risk?


Despite efforts to crack down on Tennessee's prescription drug abuse epidemic, a new report shows nearly 18 million prescriptions for controlled substances such as OxyContin and hydrocodone were issued in the state last year — up 23 percent from 2010, reports the Associated Press. “We're in jeopardy of losing an entire generation of our youth to addiction if we don't get a grip on this,” said Tommy Farmer, an assistant special agent in charge of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “I mean that sincerely.”

Tennessee has some of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the nation. An AP analysis found that per capita, oxycodone sales increased five- or six-fold in most of the state from 2000 to 2010. The prescription drug epidemic is so bad in Tennessee that officials are now projecting that requests for treatment for pill addiction will overtake alcohol by 2013, state Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney said. “I never thought in my career I would see that,” Varney said. “We have more deaths from drug overdose in our state than car crashes or homicides or suicides.”

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