Addiction Campuses spokesman talks about opioid abuse

JACKSON, Tenn. — The West Tennessee community was rocked after a federal investigation into opioid prescription abuse. Eleven medical professionals in Jackson and Bells were indicted this week as a result of that investigation.

Brian Sullivan, with Addiction Campuses of Nashville, says the opioid crisis started quietly and quickly escalated.

“It’s something that happens in a very unassuming way, where you might have an injury to an ankle, and you go to the doctor and you get these prescription opioids,” Sullivan said.

The numbers are staggering. Americans consume 80 percent of the world’s opioid supply, according to researchers at the Pain Management Center of Paducah.

The CDC estimates that 46 Americans die every day from opioid prescription abuse.

Sullivan says one step toward reducing opioid abuse is monitoring prescription use.

“[Make sure] these doctors are mindful and saying ‘Hey, maybe we shouldn’t give this person a month’s supply. Maybe I should give this person a week’s supply and monitor them,'” Sullivan said.

He also says the federal investigation is encouraging to those working with addiction treatment centers.

“It’s invaluable to have that support of the government, and I’m so glad that they’re finally going after some of the parties responsible,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to take lawmakers, health care providers, and nonprofits, and organizations coming together and being in sync with the community, to make sure that we combat this epidemic.”

The Addiction Campuses helpline is 1-888-614-2251. Their website is addictioncampuses.com.

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