Gov. Haslam Signs Legislation to Restrict Opioid Access, Punish Trafficking, Provide Treatment Help

Bill Haslam

The state of Tennessee is adding restrictions to opioid prescriptions and measures to track and punish unlawful distribution of the powerful pain medications.

Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills and issued an executive order last Friday to support TN Together, the latest effort to fight the opioid crisis, WBIR reported, citing a press release from Haslam’s office.

TN Together focuses on prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

The legislation seeks to prevent opioid addiction, and misuse and abuse by limiting the supply and dosage of opioid prescriptions with an emphasis on new patients, according a statement on the governor’s office’s website. Initial prescriptions will be limited to a 5-day supply with daily dosage limits (40 MME or “morphine milligram equivalent”).

Higher dosages of opioids have been associated with higher risk of overdose and death while proving ineffective at reducing pain over the long term. The legislation also addresses appropriate exceptions, including exceptions for individuals undergoing active or palliative cancer treatment or who are receiving hospice care for chronic pain.

The second bill will better track, monitor and penalize the use and unlawful distribution of opioids by adding synthetic versions of fentanyl to the controlled substance schedules, among other updates, WBIR said.

The 2018-2019 budget sets aside more than $25 million in state and federal funds for treatment and recovery services for people with opioid use disorder, the governor’s office said. The legislation provides incentives for offenders in correctional facilities to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated. These evidence-based programs are proven to reduce recidivism and improve lives while saving taxpayer dollars, the governor’s office said.

The opioid crisis is hitting Tennessee hard, the governor’s office said.

Each day in the state, at least three people die from an opioid-related overdose, which is more than the number of daily traffic fatalities. Since 1999, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths nationwide, including prescription opioids and heroin, has quadrupled. Tennessee is no exception to this epidemic. While progress is being made through the state’s Prescription for Success and Prescription Safety Act, Tennessee remains in the top 15 of all states in drug overdose deaths, and each year, more opioid prescriptions are written than there are people living in Tennessee, with more than 1 million prescriptions left over.

More details on TN Together and resources for those suffering from addiction are at







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3 Thoughts to “Gov. Haslam Signs Legislation to Restrict Opioid Access, Punish Trafficking, Provide Treatment Help”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Just another grandstanding move that wastes my tax dollars.

    Sorry for those who get hooked on this stuff , but are they not responsible for their choices? Apparently not in today’s Tennessee. The do-gooders make excuses and spend money.

  2. Randall

    Send some of that money to Build That Wall!

  3. Brian McMurphy

    Bullcrap. I’ve documented my problem with this Government Between You and Your Doctor garbage.

    My wife had spinal surgery last year. Bedridden for three months. In pain for the majority of it.

    Doctor could only prescribe 7 days of pain meds at a time and could not call it in to a pharmacy. So, the import of that is the patient can’t get out of bed. Which left me to have to take off from work once a week for 3 months to physically drive to St Thomas West. Park. Traverse 10 stories of the building during their offices’ bankers hours to pick up a script.

    Then take it to the pharmacy where places like Walgreens start scrutinizing the pill based on something you may have been prescribed in the past or won’t even carry sometimes at all.

    I had to do that every week for 3 months. Luckily, my work was accommodating. Sometimes the doc woudn’t respond in a timely fashion to renew so she had to writhe and cry in pain and I had to sit there and watch it or go to family members to see if they had any extras pain meds laying around.

    Or she could take 10 BC powders a day which is awful on your liver.

    This is unacceptable in America. Eff Haslam and anyone who supports this BS. From the people who put your name in a registry to buy Sudafed. This state is allergy central.

    How about you just punish lawbreakers instead of the sick or injured? A plan so crazy it might just work.

    But those Flying J’s can still hawk trucker speed can’t they, Governor.