Yager working with Governor Haslam to address prescription drug abuse

(NASHVILLE, TN), January 5, 2012 — State Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) said today he will be working with Governor Bill Haslam to pass legislation aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse in Tennessee.  Haslam recognized Yager for his efforts to address the problem at an afternoon press conference on Thursday in Nashville where the Governor presented a comprehensive public safety strategy that included steps to curb prescription drug abuse.

In December, Yager announced he will sponsor prescription drug abuse legislation in the 2012 legislative session to require doctors, pharmacists or their designees to check the state’s Controlled Substance Monitoring Database before prescribing or filling prescriptions for scheduled drugs.  He was also the sponsor of legislation passed in the 2011 legislative session that went into effect this month cracking down on prescription drug abuse at pain clinics in Tennessee.

“I am very pleased that Governor Haslam is addressing prescription drug abuse and that it is at the center of his public safety initiative,” said Senator Yager.  “I am very encouraged about the prospects of this legislation and look forward to working with him and our public safety officials across the state in passing it through our General Assembly this year.”

The three goals of the Governor’s public safety multi-year action plan are to significantly reduce drug abuse and drug trafficking; curb violent crime; and lower the rate of repeat offenders.  There are 11 objectives and 40 action steps outlined in the plan, all specifically linked to those goals.  Some of the Governor’s initiatives involving drug abuse include:

Making improvements to the current prescription drug data base to make it easier to identify abusers;
Developing regional alliances with other states to tackle prescription drug abuse;
Placing non-violent drug addicts into drug court treatment programs;

“Tennessee ranks second in the nation in regard to the overutilization of prescription pain medications,” said Senator Yager.  “It is important that we continue to take steps to address this huge health and public safety issue in our state.”

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