Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed one of the nation’s strictest opioid policies into law today. “Tennessee Together” comes in the form of two bills. One aims at reducing the amount of opioids prescribed while the other targets addiction rehabilitation in prisons.
The first bill limits the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients. Initial opioid prescriptions will now be limited to a 3-day supply. However, reasonable exceptions may be made for major surgical procedures, cancer and hospice treatment, sickle-cell disease as well as treatment in certain licensed facilities.
The second bill creates incentives for offenders to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated and updates the schedule of controlled substances to better track, monitor and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of opioids. Notably, it adds synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl, linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths, to the controlled substance schedules.
The 2018-19 state budget includes more than $16 million in new state dollars to fund treatment and services in the fight against opioid addiction.