Pluses And Minuses Of Tennessee's New Opioid Law

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

It was clear when Governor Haslam announced his TN Together plan in January that lawmakers were going to do something to try to address the state’s opioid abuse epidemic. With the passage of SB 2257/HB 1831, Tennessee now has one of the most comprehensive and restrictive laws of any state.

 

The Tennessee Medical Association was actively engaged in the process and appreciates legislators’ willingness to consider input from physician stakeholders.

From the beginning and during the past several weeks of negotiations, TMA advocated for a mindful yet practical approach to initial opioid supply and dosage. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure it did not unreasonably obstruct patients in legitimate pain from getting the care they need.

 

The final bill is substantially improved from the initial version. New restrictions on prescribing and dispensing will no doubt achieve the governor’s stated goal of reducing overall initial supply. TMA will educate doctors on the new law as part of our ongoing efforts to promote safe and proper prescribing.

 

Tennessee’s doctors remain concerned, however, about unintended consequences for patients who because of the new law may have more difficulty accessing effective pain management. There are not enough certified pain specialists in Tennessee to care for Tennesseans experiencing legitimate chronic pain. Meanwhile, exploding use of fentanyl, heroin and other illicit drugs are causing more accidental overdose deaths even as opioid prescriptions decline. We still need a multi-faceted and well-funded strategy including treatment and law enforcement to turn back this epidemic.


Nita W. Shumaker, MD

TMA President 2017-2018


Why I Support Esther Helton

There are several things that Ms. Helton would like to see improved within District 30, which includes East Hamilton County, including areas of Chattanooga, East Ridge, East Brainerd, Apison, and Collegedale. These are very serious issues such as healthcare, vocational education and good paying jobs and keeping our taxes low. The two issues I’m supporting Ms. Helton is one, the ... (click for more)

Wayne Thompson For East Ridge Court Clerk

I would like to take this opportunity to endorse Wayne Thompson for Court Clerk of East Ridge.  I have known Wayne for nearly 40 years.  Wayne grew up right here in East Ridge.  He dedicated his entire adult life to serving the citizens of East Ridge and just doesn’t feel like he is done yet.  He is still a young man and has lots of life ahead of him.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Has Biggest Month Yet; Work May Start Next Year On Parking Deck With 1,300 Spaces

The Chattanooga Airport set a record in September with 44,000 enplanements, the highest ever for one month. This was an increase of nine percent over September 2017, and deplanements were in line, said Terry Hart president and CEO. He said that more parking is needed near the terminal to keep up with the growth. The 20-year master plan includes a parking deck with around 1,300 ... (click for more)

Man, 72, Dies In Highway 58 Crash Due To Medical Issue

A 72-year-old man was killed in a wreck on Highway 58 on Monday afternoon. At approximately 4:40 p.m., the Chattanooga Police Department's Traffic Unit responded to the 5500 block of Highway 58. It was found that a Subaru was traveling south on Highway 58 when it left the roadway and came to rest against a tree stump. The driver was found to be unresponsive and was transported ... (click for more)

Prep Soccer Teams Prepare For Post-Season Runs

The girls soccer post-season is upon us and several local teams will be playing for a spot in the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro.  DIvision II teams will play first round state games at higher seeds.   In Division II-A, CCS earned the top seed in the East on Saturday with a 2-0 region championship win over CAK. That win gives them a bye this ... (click for more)

State Volleyball Begins Tuesday In Murfreesboro

Bids for state volleyball titles will begin for three Chattanooga teams on Tuesday. Baylor, Sale Creek and East Hamilton start the process with defending D-II-AA state champ Baylor facing Father Ryan in their first match at Blackman.   The match is set to begin at 12:30 (CST). East Hamilton will face Camden in its first match as these two will square off at 12:30 too ... (click for more)