Community Solutions to End the Opioid Epidemic in Tennessee

Today’s opioid overdose and misuse crisis is a stubborn, complex, and multisystem problem touching individuals, families, schools, agencies, and employers throughout the country. According to the TN Together website, each day in Tennessee, at least three people die from an opioid-related overdose, which is more than the number of daily traffic fatalities in the state. Although progress is being made through the state’s Prescription for Success and Prescription Safety Act, Tennessee remains in the top 15 of all states in drug overdose deaths. Each year, more opioid prescriptions are written than there are people living in Tennessee. The opioid epidemic has affected individuals, families, and communities across the entire state.

To address the opioid crisis in the state, Governor Haslam has initiated the TN Together plan, which recognizes the work of multiple agencies and stakeholders. Along with the governor’s proposed 2018–19 budget and other executive actions, it aggressively and comprehensively addresses the issue through three major components: prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. To initiate the plan, the State of Tennessee Department of Health has partnered with AIR to convene the TN Together: Community Solutions to End the Opioid Epidemic summits across the state. The summits will be held in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis during April 2018. A diverse community of stakeholders will gather at the summit to share ideas, review local data, and identify promising strategies to address Tennessee’s opioid crisis.

During the summits, AIR will facilitate Community Data Interpretation sessions, which are modified versions of the data co-interpretation process developed by AIR. AIR will review current opioid-related data, discuss the relevance and analysis of data, and develop preliminary plans to shape the strategic direction for intervention activities.