Press Release 2014

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Contact: CDC Media Relations 
(404) 639-3286

CDC awards over $1 Million to Tennessee to advance prescription drug overdose prevention

Making a difference by serving as a model of prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that Tennessee will receive more than $1 million over the next three years to help prevent prescription drug overdoses and address the patient and prescribing behaviors that drive it.

The funding will help the state to enhance and maximize its prescription drug monitoring program, leverage data to protect patients in its Workers’ Compensation system, and conduct robust evaluations of existing laws and policies.

“Prescription drug overdose is an epidemic in the United States. We remain committed to providing states with the resources, expertise, and data they need to protect patients and save lives.” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “States are at the front lines of this epidemic, and as the nation’s public health agency CDC is committed to helping them any way we can.”

Tennessee has the eleventh highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States.

  • Tennessee had 17.2 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2011, the U.S. rate is 13.2/100,000. In Tennessee, 1090 people died from drug overdoses in 2011.

Opioid prescribing rates in Tennessee is among the highest in the country.

  • IMS Health: In 2012, Tennessee providers wrote 142.8 opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 people, the second highest prescribing rate in the country and far above the U.S. rate (82.5/100).

The Prescription Drug Overdose: Boost for State Prevention program will give states a surge of resources and direct support from CDC to advance the most promising prevention strategies. Overall, CDC has committed $6 million over the next three years to help five states (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia), improve their prescription drug monitoring programs, advance innovative public insurance programs to prevent opioid abuse, and conduct rigorous state policy evaluations to sharpen our understanding of the most effective prevention strategies. The advances made by these states could then serve as a model for the rest of the country.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit

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