Heroin Abuse Is On The Rise In Tennessee, Leaving Lives In Ruins

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So many of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues have fallen victim to a habit that started innocently with prescription pain medicine and for many is now morphing into something far more sinister and dangerous.

Governor Haslam created an interdepartmental task force to fight the good fight on the prescription drug epidemic and to raise awareness about this issue. Increased awareness has been fundamental in this effort and we are now seeing a decrease in the amount of prescription drugs that are available. New laws, more treatment, the full court press from state government, law enforcement and communities across Tennessee have been effective.

Thousands of Tennesseans have received effective treatment and recovery services over the past several months and years. However, research indicates that there are still many who are still dealing with active addiction.


As the state has forged efforts to reduce availability of opioid based pain remedies, in the shadows, heroin arrived on the scene. It arrived like a tidal wave in Tennessee. It's a far more potent form of opioids, cheaper, more dangerous and more lethal.

The demand for opioids has been most pronounced in our rural communities, while heroin is surfacing more in our major cities and suburbs.


Research data from multiple sources now shows heroin is sharply on the rise in Tennessee.

  • More people are seeking treatment for a heroin addiction in Tennessee
  • Drug seizures, criminal activity and arrests are increasing, mostly in urban areas
  • Heroin use is rapidly increasing as the abuse of pain meds is leveling off

Need help to get off of drugs?

Anyone interested in detoxing from opioids may encourage their medical provider to taper them off the medication. For additional information regarding tapering off of opioids patients may refer their medical provider to the following Tennessee Department of Health website: https://health.state.tn.us/Downloads/ChronicPainGuidelines.pdf

In addition, if you cannot get help from your medical provider, please call the Tennessee REDLINE anytime at 1-800-889-9789 to find treatment resources across the state.


This news story is from a recent message from Commissioner E. Douglas Varney on Heroin's Grip in our Cities and Suburbs

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