Media Advisories

TDOT Halts Lane Closures on Tennessee Highways for Labor Day Weekend

Friday, August 29, 2014 | 04:58 pm

Holiday Travelers Won’t Be Slowed by Road Construction

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation will halt all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways for the busy Labor Day holiday travel period.  Construction crews will stop all lane closure activity beginning at noon on Friday, August 29, through 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 2.  This will provide maximum roadway capacity for motorists traveling during the busy Labor Day holiday.

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).

TDOT Commisisoner Schroer Announces Air Quality Grants

Friday, August 22, 2014 | 12:23 pm

CMAQ Grants Will Fund Diverse Group of Projects that Reduce Congestion and Improve Air Quality

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer announced today the award of over $27 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grants in 11 communities across the state. The 31 grants will fund a wide range of transportation projects designed to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Governor Haslam Announces Safe Routes to School Grants for 17 Communities

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 01:38 pm

Funds to Encourage Elementary and Middle School Students to Walk and Bike

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Safe Routes to School funding totaling $1.8 million for 17 municipalities in Tennessee.  The grants will be used by multiple schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, signs, and fund safe walking and biking educational activities.  The Safe Routes to School Program is a statewide initiative designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students.

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.