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House Speaker Beth Harwell Recognizes Members Of Task Force On Opioid Abuse For Their Work

Lawmakers commended for their efforts to combat ongoing opioid epidemic

(NASHVILLE) — Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today commended members of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse and thanked them for their work addressing the opioid epidemic paralyzing Tennessee and the entire nation.

Speaker Harwell convened the task force at the beginning of the 2017 legislative session with the goal of finding new methods to attack this extremely dangerous issue.

This week, task force members made their recommendations to address a crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Tennesseans over the past five years. Some of the recommendations made by the task force include:

  • The addition of 25 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents in the coming year.
  • Limiting the number of controlled drugs prescribed by providers in emergency rooms.
  • Creating a new Tennessee Commission to Combat Drug Abuse.
  • Requesting additional funding from the White House to fight addiction.

Tennessee consistently ranks at the top of the charts nationally with regards to prescription drug abuse. Additionally, the state is seeing an increase in the rates of babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Harwell will now review the recommendations made by the group before presenting them to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in order to determine possible legislation for the upcoming session.

“My colleagues who have participated on this task force have done a remarkable job considering all options so that we can find solutions to address this critical issue that has led to so many tragic outcomes for families across Tennessee,” said Speaker Harwell. “While we have made considerable progress, our work is far from over. I am confident that these recommendations are a tremendous starting point that will support our work in the coming months.”

“I am proud of what my colleagues and I have been able to achieve over these last several months as it relates to assisting the men, women, and families who are battling addiction,” said Representative Powers. “Moving forward, I know our work will help all of us become more effective at creating and implementing new solutions to eventually end this terrible crisis.”

Dennis Powers serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He is also a member of the House Business & Utilities Committee, as well as the House Insurance & Banking Committee and Subcommittee. Powers lives in Jacksboro and represents House District 36, which includes Campbell and parts of Union and Anderson Counties. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-3335.


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