Required pain clinic referral among state opioid panel ideas

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A panel of Tennessee lawmakers wants to address the opioid epidemic with referral requirements at pain clinics, more state investigators and a public awareness program.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that House Speaker Beth Harwell’s opioid task force released dozens of final recommendations Wednesday.

The group is recommending budgeting enough funds to allow more Tennesseans the opportunity to access community substance abuse services and using existing buildings throughout the state as recovery schools. They also encouraged the state to hire 25 new Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents and make independent referrals a requirement so people can’t just walk into pain clinics.

The panel calls for further limitations on how much emergency rooms can issue controlled drugs. And it wants to develop consistencies across counties so there’s a more accurate count of overdose deaths.

They also called for Naloxone to be distributed to law enforcement in all high-risk area.

Harwell told reporters she’ll review the issue will be a priority during the legislative session that begins in January.

See all the recommendations here.

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