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Governor Haslam Announces $30M Plan to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Governor Bill Haslam announced Monday a plan to end the opioid epidemic in Tennessee.

The plan called TN Together is, according to a release from Haslam's office, a "multi-faceted initiative" to address opioid addiction through legislation, proposed funding in Haslam's 2018-19 budget, and executive actions.

The three components of the plan include legislation to limit the supply and dosage of opioid prescriptions, with reasonable exception and emphasis on new patients. Initial prescriptions will be limited to a five-day supply and daily dosage limits of 40 MME (morphine milligram equivalent.) TennCare enrollees would be limited to an initial five-day supply with daily dosage limits.

The plan also includes increasing prevention education in grades K-12 through revisions to the state's health education standards.

An executive order issued Monday will establish a special commission to formulate evidence based pain and addiction medicine competencies to adoptions by the state's medical and health care practitioner schools.

The plan would identify women of childbearing ages who are chronic opioid users and provide target outreach about risks and treatment to avoid neonatal abstinence syndrome births.

The plan includes a $25 million investment for treatment and recovery services for those addicted to opioids and would improve the state's data systems to better and more timely identify hot spots for targeting resources.

TN Together includes legislation to expand residential treatment and services for opioid dependence within the criminal justice system.

The plan would attack the illicit sale and trafficking of opioids by providing extra resources to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for rapid response teams and, through legislation, penalizing the use and unlawful distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs, including those that mimic the use of fentanyl. It would also provide every state trooper with naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.

In total, Haslam's budget proposal includes a $30 million investment in state and federal funds to support TN Together.

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