Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services

Prescription Drug Abuse Tops Alcohol Abuse in Tennessee

Thursday, August 28, 2014 | 03:55 pm

NASHVILLE – Abuse of prescription opioids, ie: pain medications, is the number one drug problem for Tennesseans receiving publicly funded assistance for treatment services. Over the past decade, substance abuse admissions for prescription drugs like: hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone have increased 500%.

The situation has dramatically driven admissions to treatment facilities way up, from 764 in 2001 to 3,828 admissions in 2011.  


 “As of July 1, 2012, the number of admissions in our state for prescription drug abuse exceeded admissions for alcohol abuse for the first time in history,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS).

You're Not Alone: A Message on Suicide Prevention

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 12:00 pm

Commissioner E. Douglas Varney shares hope following the death of Robin Williams


Through the untimely death of entertainer Robin Williams, a bright light is shining once again on the often-avoided conversation about suicide.

In my work over the years as a mental health professional, helping people through crisis of spirit, marriage and family, I have seen firsthand how people feel hopeless in their struggle. I have also seen the tragic consequences of someone committing suicide and the family members left behind.

Today, as the Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, my mission is to help people out of that dark lonely place and to know there is hope.


Haslam Appoints Task Force On Sentencing and Recidivism

Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 10:27 am

Group to develop legislative and policy recommendations  
                                                                                                                                
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the formation of the Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism as part of the administration’s overall effort to reduce crime and improve public safety.
 
In June, the Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet announced a partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice to review sentencing and correction policies and practices.  The creation of a task force is the next step in that collaboration.

Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Rise in Tennessee

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 02:22 pm

New State Law on ‘Overdose Antidote’ Naloxone Use Now in Place

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health’s Vital Statistics office today released data on 2013 drug overdose deaths in the state. The 1,166 fatalities last year involved prescribed and illegal drugs, unintentional and intentional overdoses, and compares with 1,094 overdose deaths in 2012. In each of the last two years, more people died from drug overdoses in Tennessee than in either motor vehicle accidents or homicides or suicides*.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Tri-Cities on Friday, July 18

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 | 01:08 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney and Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner will join other state and community leaders to discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to the Tri-Cities area on Friday, July 18. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Knoxville on Thursday, July 17

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 | 01:03 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney will join other state and community leaders to discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Knoxville on Thursday, July 17. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Chattanooga on Thursday, July 10

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 | 12:44 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney will join other state and community leaders to discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Chattanooga on Thursday, July 10. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Clarksville on Wednesday, June 25

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | 10:26 am

Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney, Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, and other state and community leaders will discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Clarksville on Wednesday, June 25. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Cookeville on Thursday, June 19

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 10:35 am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney and other state and community leaders will discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Cookeville on Thursday, June 19. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.

State Leaders to Discuss Prescription Drug Plan During Visit to Memphis on Wednesday, June 11

Thursday, June 05, 2014 | 04:33 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney and other state and community leaders will discuss a plan to tackle the widespread epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee during a visit to Memphis on Wednesday, June 11. Members of the news media and the public are invited to attend.