Drug Abuse Trends in Nashville, TN
Nashville is the capital and most-populated city in Tennessee, with 691,243 residents in the consolidated county-city. However, what is known locally as “The Mid-State” is home to over 1.9 million Tennesseans across 13 counties. The city is the core of Tennessee’s largest metropolitan area, home to numerous large colleges and universities, and a global center for country music.
The relationship between country music, alcohol, and addiction is undeniable. Unsurprisingly, the most commonly abused addictive substance in Nashville is alcohol. Binge drinking (or drinking more than five drinks in one sitting for men or four for women) makes up 75% of all alcohol consumed by adults and 90% by youth in the state. One in five Tennessee youth start drinking before turning 13 years old. 20% of fatal car wrecks in the Volunteer State are alcohol-related. Furthermore, law enforcement arrested over 46,000 people for alcohol-related crime in 2015.
In 2014, 640 deaths were caused by alcohol, including deaths from alcohol-related medical conditions. Alcohol-related fatalities have continued to increase – coming up by 20% – since 2009. Yet, an even bigger killer of residents is the fatal overdose of opioids. In 2015, more than 1,451 Tennesseans died as a result of opioid overdose. Tennessee authorities estimate that for every fatal overdose, there are 14 non-fatal overdoses.
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The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Music City
Nashville forms part of a cluster of Appalachian cities hit hard by the Opioid Epidemic. Officials publicly recognized the health crisis in 2012 during efforts to employ a prescription drug monitoring program that would cut down on “doctor shopping.” Still, in 2015, pharmacies dispensed 18.2 million prescription narcotics. The most common prescription opioids included hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and tramadol (Ultram). Tennessee ranks third in the nation for prescription drug abuse. Of the total population, 5% abused painkillers in 2017. However, the total number of prescriptions has since begun to decline.
Conversely, rates of heroin addiction and abuse have increased as people with opioid dependencies switch to cheaper, more available alternatives. As total prescription opioid numbers and overdose rates decline, heroin-related deaths spiked. Between 2009 and 2014, heroin-related deaths increased sevenfold. The presence of fentanyl (a synthetic opioid at least 50 times more powerful) as a cutting agent in heroin, makes the situation even more deadly. Subsequently, over 105 people in Nashville fatally overdosed due to fentanyl in 2017; the drug had been unheard of in Music City only a few years prior. Additionally, the area experienced an outbreak of Hepatitis A due to injection drug use of heroin starting in 2017.
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Drug Addiction Statistics for Nashville
In 2017, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation busted 12 counterfeit pill operations.
Fentanyl-related deaths jumped 250% in Nashville between 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, 1,039 newborns in Tennessee exhibited clinical signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome as a result of exposure to opioids in the womb.
Addiction Treatment in Nashville
Nashville’s addiction treatment options are designed to treat a variety of substance use disorders and levels of severity of addiction. The Tennessee REDLINE is a 24-7 referral service for residents to receive alcohol and drug rehab information. Also, Tennesseans can attend multiple screening and referral service centers in Nashville (and across the state). Typically, these services are free or based on need.
The Tennessee Adult Substance Abuse Treatment program provides a way for adults with an addiction or co-occurring disorders to seek recovery. Rehab services include:
- Outpatient drug rehab
- Intensive outpatient therapy
- Partial hospitalization
- Halfway house programs
- Residential treatment program
- Social detox and medically-monitored detox
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If you’re ready to start your journey to sobriety and wellness, talk to a dedicated treatment provider now. Information is available about your therapy options, recovery center locations across the country, and how to make the cost of rehab affordable.