It was the largest-ever gathering of medical professionals and community leaders in East Tennessee focused specifically on the opioid epidemic. And it convened in Lenoir City on Thursday.
More than 300 doctors, law-enforcement officers and addiction specialists gathered at the second annual East Tennessee Opioid Conference to discuss ways to prevent people from drug-overdose deaths.
Eric Penniman, the executive medical director of the Summit Medical Group, said the community needs to work together on finding solutions to the crisis. “There’s clearly a lot more that needs to be done,” he said, adding the peak per-capita rate of opioid deaths in the U.S. is right here in East Tennessee.
One solution is for doctors to prescribe smaller doses of opioids for injury victims. A cited statistic showed 20 percent of people who take opioids for 10 days are likely to continue long-term use.
Another is to seek alternatives to opioids for pain management include virtual-reality treatment, sound therapy and meditation.
They also focused on education. The reasoning there is if doctors prescribe fewer opioids, the outcome is fewer people may become addicted.