Trump Sends $25M to Fight Addiction in Tennessee
Funds aim to help with opioid fight
Tennessee will receive more than $25 million in federal funding to combat the opioid crisis, which has killed more than 5,000 people in the state, according to a Trump administration announcement earlier this week.
About $18.5 million will be given to the state government by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to fund opioid addiction prevention, treatment and recovery programs. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will provide another $6.7 million to the state health department to help collect overdose data in real time and support the effort to prevent more deaths.
The Tennessee funding is part of nearly $1.8 billion in opioid crisis grants be dolled out nationwide. President Trump announced the funding on Wednesday while vaguely criticizing past administrations for not doing enough to combat addiction.
“We want a safe and health future for every American family. That’s what I said we’d do, and that’s what we are in the process of doing,” Trump said during a press conference.
He added later: “My administration is determined to use every resource at our disposal to smash the grip of addiction.”
The opioid epidemic has hit hard in Tennessee, and while the crisis is slowing in other states, it is still growing here . About 5,500 people died from opioidrelated overdoses in the state between 2013 and 2017, according to state overdose records. CDC data shows that another 1,800 died of drug overdoses in Tennessee in 2018, but it is not yet known how many of those overdoses were linked of opioids. Many nearby states saw dramatic drops in overdoses deaths in 2018, but Tennessee did not.
State epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones said last month that Tennessee has made significant progress cutting down on prescription opioid abuse, but these gains had been outweighed by the rise of fentanyl.
“We were once close to the top of the pile in terms of prescription opioid use, abuse and therefore deaths,” Jones said. “Unfortunately, as we’ve decreased opioid prescriptions, there are still people who are really dependent, and it can drive to heroin, fentanyl and other drugs.”
Brett Kelman is the health care reporter for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 615-259-8287 or at brett.kelman@ tennessean.com.