Overdoses leading cause of Tennessee deaths

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Drug overdoses are once again the leading cause of death in Tennessee, but the state Health Department is hoping a new law will reverse that trend.

According to data released Tuesday by the state Health Department's Vital Statistics office, drug overdoses killed 1,166 people last year. By comparison, 1,008 people died in motor vehicle accidents last year and 405 were victims of homicides.

But a law effective July 1 gives Tennesseans access to a life-saving drug. Naloxone temporarily reverses the deadly effects of opioid drugs, giving the person time to reach a medical provider.

The new law allows doctors to prescribe naloxone to a person at risk of experiencing an overdose. The drug can also be prescribed to a family member or friend.

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