Tennesseans paused on the last day of August with others around the world to remember, reflect and recover from the effects of overdose.
The state departments of Health and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, community partners, people in recovery from addiction, people who have survived overdose and people who have lost loved ones marked Monday with remembrance, training and encouragement with the goal of reducing the number of Tennesseans tragically lost to overdose each year.
Sadly, the state’s overall number of deadly overdoses continues to rise, and the trend has continued in recent months as the state has confronted the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 2,089 Tennesseans who died from drug overdoses in 2019, a 15 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2018. Tennessee also saw increases in overdose deaths associated with opioids, fentanyl and stimulants in 2019.
“We mourn for the families of Tennesseans lost to addiction and overdose, and commit to continuing our work to end overdose in our state,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Resources are available for individuals and families to learn how they can be part of the solution and save lives.”
COVID-19 has created challenges for people living with risky substance use or substance use disorder. Additional stress, anxiety, economic hardship and other impacts of the pandemic may have worsened preexisting conditions or helped cause new ones. Tennessee’s community-based treatment and recovery providers have adapted to challenges and continue to provide life-changing and life-saving treatment.
Call or text the TN REDLINE at 800-889-9789 for free referral to addiction treatment services.