Tenn. striving to curb pain pill epidemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's death rate from drug overdoses has nearly tripled since 1999, a trend that state officials hurrying to tackle with expanded regulations.

The proposals include one from Gov. Bill Haslam that would require doctors and pharmacists to consult a controlled substance database before writing or dispensing such prescriptions. State Sen. Ken Yager of Harriman tells The Tennessean he believes new state regulations will help reduce drug overdose deaths.

The legislature last year passed Yager's bill that imposed unprecedented regulations on pain management clinics.

The efforts come as a 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Tennessee ranked eighth nationally in drug overdose deaths.

For families, those statistics represent the deaths of loved ones who lost their addiction to such drugs as hydrocodone and oxycodone.


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