How Opioids Change the Brain

In March, Stephen Loyd was scrolling through Google images for a PowerPoint presentation on addiction when a picture of a bottle of Percocet pills triggered a powerful craving. His mouth watered. His hand trembled. He couldn’t move the computer mouse. When it happened, Loyd was in his office on the sixth floor of a government building in downtown Nashville, where he serves as medical director for Substance Abuse Services for the state of Tennessee, one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. And he has been clean 13 years. That’s how powerful opioid cravings are, Loyd said. And cravings are the primary reason it’s so hard to treat opioid addiction. “The reason people relapse is the

Haslam issues challenge

In his eighth and final State of the State address, Gov. Bill Haslam delivered an at-times emotional early farewell by reflecting on his years in office while calling for lawmakers to take further action to help lead the nation on job growth and education gains.“Whether, like me, you have one more year, or you intend to be here for years to come, let’s use this time while we have the privilege of answering the call to lead, to be the force for good for the state of Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Let’s decide now that Tennessee will lead.”The call to arms of sorts came as Haslam touted his own and the legislature’s accomplishments in recent years, while also encouraging lawmakers to continue makin

The King’s Academy Hosted a Community Forum for Local Pastors, Non-Profits and Related Professionals

Today, Recovery at Seymour sponsored and The King’s Academy hosted a community forum for local pastors, non-profits and related professionals. Dr. Monty Burks, Karen Pershing, Ellen Wilhoit and your RAS Leadership team spoke about the immense possibilities when a community comes together to address addiction. Look for the videos of the presentations soon on our website. Click Here to See Facebook Post

Sevier County Churches Join Fight Against Drug Epidemic

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) - The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and substance abuse services along with other non-profits hosted a faith-based forum for religious leaders in Sevier County. The purpose was to provide information on the drug epidemic in Tennessee and encourage churches to provide recovery resources to their community. Monty Burks, the director of faith based initiatives for the state agency, said there are about 12,000 institutions of faith across Tennessee. There is one in every county, he said. He believed they are strategically located to be on the front lines of this drug epidemic. "It gives people in that community some hope. They don't have to drive three counties over

All Day Thursday: Medical Marijuana Gets New Allies, Opponents across Tennessee

WKRN web staff - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Do efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee stand a chance? There is growing momentum to make cannabis oil available for a long list of ailments, from cancer to arthritis to Parkinson's and PTSD. There's also stiff opposition. All day Thursday, we investigated the growing debate over medical marijuana in Tennessee, taking a look at both sides of the story - from people fighting on a grassroots level for legalization to those fighting against it. Stories include the politics of pot and where the candidates for governor stand, a local hemp farmer who is taking advantage of a state research program, veterans who believe cannabis oil is helpin

New Tennessee Law would Aim to Break Link between Gift Cards and Opioids

Several lawmakers were approached by lobbyists from a block of retail giants during the state legislative session last spring. The group, made up of representatives of Target, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot, was seeking a law that would enhance penalties for organized crime, which had cost them some $200 million in stolen goods in 2016 in Tennessee alone. Shortly after beginning to look into their request, lawmakers realized they had stumbled upon a much bigger problem: There was a link between theft and the state’s blossoming opioid epidemic. Gift cards for drugs Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, said the process of stealing millions from large retailers is simple but takes a sophisticated o

Baumgartner Embodied Opioid Crisis in Knoxville; May He Now Rest in Peace

I know I wasn’t alone in feeling an overwhelming sadness at the death of Richard Baumgartner. We weren't close, but we’d crossed paths several times through the years. He was part of my 2004 Leadership Knoxville class, and it was a measure of the respect that others had for him that he was selected class representative after graduation. I was in his courtroom a time or two, as well. In 2009, I faced his intimidating presence on the bench when defense attorneys in the Christian-Newsom murder trials asked him to order Knoxnews.com to stop posting anonymous comments. Comments were a big deal back then, and that horrendous case drew thousands.Baumgartner grilled our attorney, Richard Hollow, and

Stories of Addiction and Recovery from Tennessee

Hi, my name is Bethany, and I'm a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic, but that isn't the only “title” I have. I'm also a recovery advocate, a Narcan trainer and educator, a student, and an amazing mother, to an even more amazing little boy with autism. It wasn't too long ago, none of these names would have suit me. I was a hopeless, helpless drug addict, who wanted a better life but didn't know how, or have the resources to even begin. I knew my baby deserved a better life, than that I was capable of giving him, in my present state. I got on the internet and researched treatment centers for women and children, and found Renewal House. I went to detox, out of state, and came immediately t

Lenoir City Chiropractor Pays $1.45 Million for Operating Pill Mills

A Lenoir City chiropractor has paid more than $1.45 million for allegedly operating a "pill mill" in which he used Medicare and TennCare to fill prescriptions for pain killers, including opioids, that were not medically necessary. The allegations were brought to light by a former office manager at one of Matthew Anderson's clinics who acted as a whistle blower, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. “The opioid epidemic has had a crushing effect on patients and families across middle Tennessee,” said Derrick Jackson, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in Atlanta, in the release. “Pill mills like th

Knoxville Mother Pushes Tougher Penalties for Drug Dealers after Son's Overdoes Death

A mother is pushing state lawmakers to save other families from suffering the same fate as her son. Henry Granju was 18 when he died in 2010 from an opioid overdose. His parents sent him to rehab multiple times, but Granju couldn't escape his addiction. His mom is calling for changes in the law to increase the time behind bars for drug dealers who target minors. "When Henry died seven years ago there wasn't very much awareness," Granju's mother, Katie Allison, said. While Tennessee's problem with opioids continues to evolve, Allison is hoping punishments for drug dealers will as well. "It only made sense that if they give the drug directly to our children, then we should have advanced senten

Henry's Law Increases Punishment for OD Deaths in Minors

After passing both houses, Henry's Law was signed by Governor Haslam on May 15. It will become law on July 1, 2018. Original story: January 26, 2018 A mother is pushing state lawmakers to save other families from suffering the same fate as her son. Henry Granju was 18 when he died in 2010 from an opioid overdose. His parents sent him to rehab multiple times, but Granju couldn't escape his addiction. His mom is calling for changes in the law to increase the time behind bars for drug dealers who target minors. "When Henry died seven years ago there wasn't very much awareness," Granju's mother, Katie Allison, said. While Tennessee's problem with opioids continues to evolve, Allison is hoping pu

'Drug Den' Raided, Shut Down After Overdoses

A Beaumont area home deemed a "drug den" by authorities after two overdoses there last year has been boarded shut following a multi-agency raid. Members of Knox County's Drug Related Death Task Force served a temporary injunction and nuisance petition against the residents at 919 Virginia Ave. on Wednesday. Knoxville police officers responded to drug overdoses at the home in March and May 2017, according to the nuisance petition signed by Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee. Both victims survived. In December, police received separate reports of an assault and a kidnapping at the residence within 24 hours of each other. Responding officers located the alleged kidnapping victim in the

'Drug Den' Raided, Shut Down after Overdoses

A Beaumont area home deemed a "drug den" by authorities after two overdoses there last year has been boarded shut following a multi-agency raid. Members of Knox County's Drug Related Death Task Force served a temporary injunction and nuisance petition against the residents at 919 Virginia Ave. on Wednesday. Knoxville police officers responded to drug overdoses at the home in March and May 2017, according to the nuisance petition signed by Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee. Both victims survived. In December, police received separate reports of an assault and a kidnapping at the residence within 24 hours of each other. Responding officers located the alleged kidnapping victim in the

MDC Report: More Than 1,200 People Received Naloxone In Knox Co. Last Year

The Metro Drug Coalition announced Thursday that more than 1,200 people received naloxone in Knox County from October 2016 to September 2017. Naloxone, also known commercially as Narcan, is administered by first responders when a person is suspected of overdosing on opioids. In response to increased opioid use, the MDC created a group that works to rescue victims and get them to follow-up care. The group, Naloxone Community Collaborative, met for the first time in September 2016. The group gathered information to study Knox County's naloxone deployment, demographics and dosage. Several agencies participated in the meetings but the data included in the MDC report came from AMR Rural/Metro EMS

Report: Naloxone Deployed More Than 1,200 Times in Knox Co. Last Year

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- More than 1,200 people in Knox County received Naloxone in Knox County last year, according to a report issued by the Metro Drug Coalition on Thursday. To better understand the depth of the opioid crisis in East Tennessee, the Knox County Health Department teamed up with the Metro Drug Coalition to gather information on Naloxone deployments from first responders in Knox County between October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. More first responders in Knox County are both carrying and administering Naloxone to suspected overdose victims, according to officials. Emergency medical responders have carried the overdose reversal drug for nearly 30 years, while other agenc

Haslam Administration Begins Rollout of $30 Million Plan to Combat Opioid Epidemic

The Haslam Administration on Wednesday took its first formal steps to roll out a new $30 million effort to combat the state's opioid epidemic, filing bills to limit prescriptions and to reduce sentences for prisoners who complete treatment programs. Gov. Bill Haslam also appointed 19 experts to a newly created commission that will make recommendations on how the state's medical schools educate the next generation of nurses, doctors and dentists on how to avoid over-prescribing opioids. When employee addictions were leading to high absenteeism and high turnover at Jones Plastic & Engineering Company in Camden, Tenn., management decided to help employees confront their issues. Lacy Atkins / Th

Knox County group Releases Report on Narcan Deployment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - More than 42,000 people died in the United States from opioids in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can be administered by first responders to help a person overdosing on opioids. "Not every individual receiving naloxone struggles with substance abuse. Individuals who may be opiate naive and take a prescribed medication for the first time could experience respiratory distress," said the Knox County Health Department. "Children accidentally taking adult medication or elderly individuals who may unintentionally take more than the prescribed dose are also at risk." The medication is able to help with over

Governor Haslam Sets Up Panel in $30M Opioid Plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has established a commission on pain and addiction medicine education, marking one of the first moves in his $30 million plan to combat opioid abuse. A news release from the Republican governor Wednesday says he established the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education by executive order. The 19-member panel includes representatives from the state’s public and private medical educational institutions, the Tennessee Department of Health, a broad group of professional associations and licensed health care practitioners. The group is tasked with providing medical education institutions with guidelines to avoid overprescribin

Knox County First Responders Gave Naloxone over 1,200 Times in 1 Year for Opioid Overdoses

Each day in Knox County, an average of three people get the overdose antidote naloxone from a first responder: paramedic, firefighter, police officer. In a one-year period — between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017 — that meant more than 1,200 people got the drug in an emergency situation. And that number keeps going up. For the past 16 months, the Naloxone Community Collaborative, headed by Metro Drug Coalition and made up of first-responder agencies and organizations with an interest in public health, has been tracking who in Knox County gets naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid drugs on a person's breathing, bringing the respiratory system back to normal function. The reason: Th

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If they're still alive, there's hope.