(NASHVILLE) — This week, Republican lawmakers supported passage of a measure sponsored by State Representative Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro) that improves reporting on instances of opioid abuse.
House Bill 2004 establishes an opioid abuse and diversion intake line, managed by the Tennessee Department of Health, for the purposes of receiving allegations of opioid abuse or diversion.
Additionally, the measure directs all allegations to the appropriate licensing boards or law enforcement officials in order to evaluate them. House Bill 2004 also requires employers who prescribe, handle, and dispense opioids to inform employees of the complaint line and grants immunity to anyone who reports information in good faith.
In 2016 alone, there were over 1,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee, one of the highest rates in the entire nation. Statistics show those numbers are only increasing. Each day in our state, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses — more than the daily number of traffic fatalities.
As a physician and as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, Representative Terry has led the charge in Tennessee’s efforts to tackle the opioid crisis. Terry has sponsored several initiatives related to the opioid crisis and has worked closely with Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Governor Bill Haslam, and additional members of House leadership to advance a legislative package designed to address all sides of this paramount issue.
“House Bill 2004 is just a part of our much larger effort in addressing an extremely complex issue that has unfortunately impacted many of our citizens,” said Representative Terry. “I look forward to additional collaboration with my colleagues so that we can continue to create innovative solutions in order to help our citizens end the cycle of addiction.”
“As the prime co-sponsor of House Bill 2004, I appreciate the effort and leadership Chairman Terry has displayed on the opioid issue and on this legislation,” said Speaker Harwell. “Information is a key to combatting the opioid epidemic. This legislation improves Tennessee’s ability to identify bad actors and take action against them.”
For more information about House Bill 2004, please click here.
Bryan Terry, MD serves as Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, as well as a member of the House Health and Civil Justice Committees. He lives in Murfreesboro and represents House District 48, which includes the eastern half of Rutherford County. Terry can be reached by calling (615) 741-2180 or emailing: Rep.Bryan.Terry@capitol.tn.gov.