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© 2016 || Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force || 6040 Century Oaks Drive || Chattanooga, TN 37416

Prescription Drug Diversion

Opioids are substances that are either derived from opium poppy, or are made synthetically/semi-synthetically. These drugs are primarily used for pain relief. Some of the brand names of commonly used opioids are Hydrocone, Oxycodone, and Hydromorphone. The United States consumes over 80% of all of the opioids in the world.

Opiate Rates

Tennessee Diversion Trends

Tennessee consistenly ranks as a state with one of the worst prescritpion drug abuse problems in the nation. This translates to Tennessee being one of the national leaders in highway traffic deaths resulting form prescription drug use, and from overdose deaths related to prescription drugs.

Prescribing and dispensing rates have decreased in the last couple of years, but much work still needs to be done. Tennessee has passed legislation lowering the number of pain clinics in the state, and in the amounts of opiates being dispensed. The DEA has just announced the unveiling of a new education resource designed for schools and families to help educate students on the dangers and results of prescription drug abuse. A link to the Operation prevention is included in the list below.

Drug Overdose Deaths Reach Record High in 2015

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that 1,451 people died in Tennessee during 2015 from a drug overdose. This is the highest annual rate of drug overdoses in the state's history. The overdose death rate for 2015 was 22 per 100,000 people. This is a very large rate when comapred to the 14.7 per 100,000 rate of deaths from motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee during 2015. Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner recorded a video statement regarding this report. The statement can be viewed at the Commissioner's message on drug overdose in Tennessee.

Drug Overdose Deaths by Year in Tennessee

  • 2011 1,062 deaths 16.6 rate
  • 2012 1,094 deaths 16.9 rate
  • 2013 1,166 deaths 17.9 rate
  • 2014 1,263 deaths 19.3 rate
  • 2015 1,451 deaths 22.0 rate

Prescription Drug Downloads and Links

Item Name


Fentanyl Briefing Guide for First Responders

A guide produced by the DEA, and published in June of 2017. this guide is desigend to assist first responders in issues regarding fentanyl.

Overdose Deaths in Tennessee - 2015

There were 1,451 deaths from drug overdose in Tennessee during 2015. This map shows which counties those deaths occurred in.

Prescription Drug Incident Trends Maps

Maps that show the numbers of prescription drug related incidents reported in Tennessee from 2011 - 2015.

Heroin Incident Trends Maps

Maps that show the numbers of heroin related incidents reported in Tennessee from 2011 - 2015.

The DEA's Operation Prevention

An online training resource for middle and high school students, parents, and teachers.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - July 4, 2014

A report describing the prescribing variation among states of Opiates and Benxodiazepines

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