Drug overdoses claim more lives in Tenn.


The number of Tennesseans who die each year due to drug overdoses is on the rise. That's according to a recent report released by the state health department.

In 2013, there were 1,166 deaths. In 2014, that total rose by nearly 100. According to the report, 91 of Tennessee's 95 counties had at least one death attributed to drug overdose, providing evidence of a statewide problem.

The report also states, opioids are one of the most over-abused drugs. Researcher Angela Hagaman said Tennessee is behind in promoting naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote, which can be used to save lives.

"States around us - North Carolina, Virginia - they've had a little bit of a jump start," Hagaman said. "They have catchy names - Project Revive, Project Lazarus - and they also have kits ready so that agencies are able to pass out Naloxone kits and give training, and in Tennessee, we're not really ready for that."

Hagaman also works with the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition. She said they've just received a state grant to promote naloxone training awareness and training in the community.

Below is a breakdown of overdose deaths in counties in our region, reported to the state:

Greene: 19

Sullivan: 44

Washington: 25

For the full report, visit the Tennessee Department of Health's site:

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