Nashville has more than its share of problems with drugs and alcohol. As a state, Tennessee is currently in competition with Missouri over who had the most meth lab busts 2010, Doctors under investigation for prescription fraud and nurses getting caught high on the job or pilfering Percocets from the pharmacy. These stories are all too common in Tennessee rightfully have health officials more than concerned.
Nashville is known for many things, like being home to the Grand Ole Opry, country music and unfortunately for some Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey. Music highway runs between Nashville and Memphis with as diverse population as there is drug use. Nashville, with its predominantly white population is known for methamphetamine abuse while Memphis with a predominantly black population has a tremendously high problem with crack cocaine and powder cocaine.
The Nashville-Davidson has a growing population with over 630,000 people with substance abuse and addiction growing right alongside. Over seven percent of Tennessee’s population has used an illicit drug in the past month according the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). That’s over 45,000 people in the Nashville area alone, not to mention alcohol those with prescription drug addiction.
Tennessee drug task force reported 1972 meth busts in 2010, up over 50% of the previous years. Tennessee has yet to follow Missouri or Oregon in making the key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, illegal to be sold over-the-counter. Regardless the effort made by these states, meth production is climbing and often meth addicts are treated for addiction with more prescription drugs. This leads to other issues as meth abusers find ways around obtaining the chemicals needed or move onto other more readily distributed legally prescribed drugs like Adderrall or opioid painkillers.
In past year many instances of nurses abusing prescription drugs while on the job and patient care in their charge in and around Nashville, have come to light and could have been prevented if they had asked for help. A zero tolerance policy that requires termination for nurses caught with an addiction problem keeps the topic quiet, subsequently putting patients at risk, according to a study performed by Todd Monroe of Vanderbilt. If offered an alternative, like treatment in a Tennessee drug rehab, nurses are more likely to come forward and keep the public safe.
Prescription drug addiction is a big problem in Nashville and major epidemic throughout the country, surpassing addiction to cocaine and heroin combined. A survey completed by the National Institutes of Health reports as many as five percent of high school seniors are currently abusing pain medication. There are many instances of teenagers abusing these powerfully addictive opiates and moving onto heroin due to ease of availability and cheaper costs.
Issues like these make drug education and prevention efforts all the more important as costs are grossly unbalanced. As an example, in Tennessee for every $100 spent on substance abuse, 96¢ went toward prevention, treatment, and research, compared with $98.63 to cover the burden incurred by public programs such as criminal justice, school aid, Medicaid, child welfare, developmental disabilities and mental illness. Basically, the after effects of substance abuse and addiction.
There are approximately 105 drug rehabs in Nashville and surrounding area each offering a variety of treatment services which is not nearly enough. What should happen are widespread rehabilitation and prevention efforts along with health care reforms and change in attitudes about drug addiction issues.
With that substance abuse and health care professionals should see the overall problem concerning the addict’s life, and not just prescribe more drugs, which actually suppress the addict’s abilities as a whole.