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An opioid treatment model for all of Tennessee

Johnson City Press • Sep 20, 2017 at 12:00 AM

We urge the legislative task force appointed by state House Speaker Beth Harwell to pay close attention to a methadone-dispensing opioid addiction clinic that opened its doors Monday in Gray. It’s the first of its kind in our region, and could serve as a model for the rest of Tennessee.

East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance have joined together to operate Overmountain Recovery, 203 Gray Commons Circle, which we believe is an important part in how this state should address the opioid addiction problem.

There are few communities in Tennessee that haven’t been touched by this epidemic in one way or another. The victims are our neighbors, family members and our friends.

Abuse of prescription painkillers is not just a law enforcement issue or part of a nationwide public health crisis. It is also an economic problem that robs employers of a sober and reliable workforce.

It will take a coordinated and community-based treatment program to tackle this problem. It’s not be an easy or an inexpensive approach to helping those addicted to opioids shed this terrible burden. Nonetheless, we believe it is a sensible and compassionate plan for dealing with opioid addiction.

The legislative task force needs to follow what we are doing here in Northeast Tennessee to take on the opioid problem, and we need to let state officials know what they can do to help the Gray clinic succeed.

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