Media Advisories

Teenage Binge Drinking in Tennessee Drops

Monday, September 22, 2014 | 10:13 am

NASHVILLE – Fewer teens and pre-teens in Tennessee are abusing alcohol, according to the findings of a five-year prevention effort. The emphasis was on changing community attitudes and behaviors and the risks of having five or more drinks on one occasion.

Lead by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), the state’s efforts achieved reductions in binge drinking well beyond the national average. During a period from 2009 – 2013, the statewide rate of binge drinking teens, between the ages of 14 and 17, dropped nearly 16%. In the 18 to 25 age range, the decrease was more than 5%.

“Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS). “The reduction in binge drinking speaks to a concerted effort by anti-drug community coalitions in the state, treatment providers, families, and young people themselves.”

Slow Down for Fall - and Wine - at Knoxville’s Market Square Farmers Market

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 09:28 am

KNOXVILLE - “Don’t skip the very best time of year to visit farmers markets,” says Amy Tavalin, farmers markets specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

“From now until the first hard freeze is easily the most abundant season of the year in Tennessee,” says Tavalin. “We have a long growing season, so not only are all of summer’s favorites enjoying a last hurrah, but everything from fresh apples to Indian corn is elbowing into farmers market aisles across the state. Fresh, local produce will be here until sometime in October.”

This Saturday, September 20, Pick Tennessee Products will host a fall produce media day at the Market Square Farmers Market in Knoxville. Participating media can interview farmers and area officials in attendance, get footage and photographs of visitors and receive a “goody bag” including digital images and information about local foods and farms.

Governor Haslam Awards $24.2 Million in Highway Safety Grants

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 08:14 am

386 Agencies to Receive Funds to Improve Safety on Tennessee Roadways

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole announced the Tennessee agencies that received grant awards totaling more than $24.2 million to support highway traffic safety efforts.

Governor Bill Haslam, Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner to Receive Annual Flu Vaccinations

Friday, September 12, 2014 | 11:33 am

NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam and Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, are stressing the importance of Tennesseans receiving their influenza vaccinations this flu season. On Friday, September 19, Governor Haslam, and Commissioner Dreyzehner will receive their seasonal flu vaccinations at the Shelby County Health Department in Memphis.

TDVA Connects Veterans with Jobs, Higher Education and Other Valuable Resources in Sevier County

Friday, September 12, 2014 | 10:48 am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (TDVA) is partnering with nearly 40 federal, state, local public and private partners to ensure Veterans, dependents and surviving family members in Blount, Cocke, Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier Counties get access to employment opportunities, educational resources, mental health and substance abuse services, business resources and claims assistance. 

Representatives from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, as well as Carson Newman University and Walter State Community College will participate in the Veterans Outreach Event and Job Fair on Wednesday, September 24 from 10am to 2pm at the Tennessee National Guard Armory at 1856 Ridge Road in Sevierville. Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will participate to offer Commercial Driving Certification for qualified Veterans as well as recruit Veterans for open positions. Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Tennessee Department of Human Resources and Tennessee Department of Military will also recruit Veterans.

Veteran Suicides on the Rise in Tennessee

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 03:21 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Douglas Varney and Tennessee Department Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced the number of suicides by Veterans increased from 197 in 2012 to 214 in 2013.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month which is an initiative to raise awareness about the tragic trend and the resources available to offer support.

"Sadly, our brave men and women who once served in uniform may struggle with thoughts of suicide and thoughts of giving up," Varney said. "They must always know they are never alone."

"The wounds of war are not always visible, but can at times manifest under the surface for some Veterans who may not realize how quickly depression can become a critical situation," Grinder said. "One suicide is too many and we are committed to increasing awareness about available resources and identifying gaps to better serve struggling Veterans."

Billy Ray Irick Execution Advisory

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 11:26 am

NASHVILLE – In accordance with state law, the Department of Correction is now accepting applications from recognized news organizations to serve as statutorily required witnesses for the scheduled execution of death row inmate Billy Ray Irick.  The execution is currently scheduled for 7pm on October 7, 2014.

Tennesseans Urged to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Tuesday, September 09, 2014 | 01:48 pm

NASHVILLE –More than 1,000 people in Tennessee die each year from drug overdoses, according to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and many of those deaths could have been prevented if unused prescriptions were disposed of properly.

People across Tennessee are encouraged to join the fight against prescription drug abuse, by removing unused pills from their homes and safely disposing of unused prescriptions during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 27.

This month’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is the second in 2014, and gives people the opportunity to remove medicines that have expired, are no longer being taken and pose a threat to others if taken by accident or fall into the wrong hands.