Known as the birthplace of country music, Tennessee is home to the bustling streets of Nashville and Memphis, both of which draw in tourists from coast to coast. Tennessee is also bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains, offering serene stretches of wilderness and breathtaking views.
Unfortunately, Tennessee is also home to a growing drug epidemic, similar to what the rest of the country has seen in recent years. Prescription opioid painkiller use transitions into abuse that can quickly escalate into the use of heroin and other street-sourced opioids, ultimately leading to homelessness and potential overdose.
Tennessee offers numerous addiction treatment options in various cities across the state. These options range from inpatient services to outpatient programs and can include additional treatment options such as medical detox and sober living homes to aid in the recovery process.
Tennessee Substance Abuse Statistics
While many states are seeing an increase in opioid addiction and abuse of prescription drugs, Tennessee is experiencing a much higher rate of opioid addiction among its residents. The state ranks second in the country for most opioid prescriptions per person, meaning physicians in the state of Tennessee prescribe more opioids than 48 other states.
The highly habit-forming nature of opioids can quickly spiral users into addiction, overdose and even death. 2014 was a record year for Tennessee, with at least 1,200 residents losing their lives to opioid overdose. This statistic does not account for lives lost due to complications from addiction, such as infections from shared needles or combining opioids with other drugs.
Alcohol has also posed big issues for the state of Tennessee. As the most widely consumed addictive substance in the nation, alcohol can be inexpensive and easily obtained, even for residents who are under the legal drinking age of 21. An estimated 9.6 percent of Tennessee adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old currently use alcohol—nearly 50,000 adolescents. Almost 60 percent of all high school students have used alcohol at some point in their lives.
Once completely banned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, moonshine is experiencing a resurgence of popularity in Tennessee. The unregulated production process carries significant dangers that include the presence of toxins like lead, antifreeze or methanol. Homemade hooch, or “white lightning,” is usually much more potent than store-bought liquors, and many residents of Tennessee find themselves battling an addiction to moonshine.
Meth is also making a comeback. After a largely successful law enforcement campaign to rid the state of meth several years ago, this drug is once again flooding the streets of Tennessee—this time in a highly potent, widely available version flowing into the country from Mexico.
Tennessee’s Response To Addiction Trends
Tennessee state officials are working to stay ahead of the opioid crisis that is shaking the state. They have partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their disease-prevention efforts aligned with the Healthy People 2020 national campaign. The latest substance-abuse objectives for Healthy People 2020 are “to reduce substance abuse to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for all, especially children.”
Tennessee has also increased efforts in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, which is focused on mental health and addiction and identifies these disorders’ impact on the state. This department has helped bring awareness to various mental health issues and addresses the connections between mental health disorders and substance abuse.
Tennessee is attempting to stop the opioid epidemic from square one, starting with the doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers. In addition to awareness campaigns and additional education available for healthcare practitioners, the state also hosts a database that tracks opioid prescriptions for each patient and is able to identify trends in those who seem to be seeking out the drug.
Addiction Treatment Programs In Tennessee
Addiction is often connected to trauma or stress. During addiction treatment, the circumstances leading to the addiction must be identified and addressed layer by layer. Even weeks after the drugs have been cleansed from an individual’s body, their mind still needs time and patience to heal.
Through inpatient drug rehab, individuals suffering from addiction have access to skilled, dedicated counselors and therapists who can help them identify and work through the issues that underlie the addiction.
Patients of a residential addiction treatment program begin to build a network of support and positivity with their peers who are also going through the program. This support network allows people suffering from addiction to participate in a community of their own. This comradery can also help individuals realize that they are not alone and that they can make it to recovery alongside their peers.
Addressing a loved one’s addiction is no easy task. Depending on their state of mind, mental health and the status of their relationship with family and friends, this task may be better handled by a third party who has no previous relationships with the patient or family.
Tennessee is home to several professional intervention services that can help make this conversation far less daunting and help to ensure a positive outcome. Intervention services are provided by therapists or trained professionals who have had years of training and experience working with individuals suffering from substance abuse and addiction.
Medical Detox For Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Tennessee
Medical detox is often the first step for individuals suffering from especially severe or long-term addiction. Drug and alcohol detox is most commonly recommended for patients who suffer from addiction to substances that can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as:
Medically supported drug and alcohol detox focuses on treating the physical aspects of addiction. Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone) prevent opioid withdrawal and allow the patient to be slowly tapered off the medication over time. Disulfiram (Antabuse), Acamprosate (Campral) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) are used to deter a relapse to alcohol consumption.
While medical detox can be the essential step needed for an individual to begin their journey to recovery, it is important to remember that ridding the body of drugs and alcohol is only the first step in overcoming addiction. Medical drug and alcohol detox should be followed by one or more professional addiction treatment programs that are dedicated to treating all facets of addiction.
Inpatient Drug And Alcohol Rehab
Short-Term Inpatient Rehab
Short-term inpatient drug rehab programs generally range from five days to 14 days. These programs often include detox, followed by general counseling and group therapy. With less than two weeks available for treatment, short-term rehab is usually very structured and less flexible than longer rehab programs.
Short-term addiction treatment is a good option for individuals who cannot take more than a week or two off from work or their family life. Individuals who are in the early stages of addiction or who do not have severe or long-term addiction may also be good candidates for short-term drug rehab.
Long-Term Inpatient Rehab
Long-term inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs provide clients with the most time to build and solidify the relapse-prevention skills that will allow them to maintain lifelong recovery. Coping skills to handle stress and cravings are also taught in long-term addiction treatment programs. The key to success for long-term rehab is providing patients with progressive and customized therapy to help identify any underlying issues connected to the addiction.
Long-term drug rehab programs vary in length from 30 days to 60 or 90 days and can go as long as 12 months.
Outpatient Drug Rehab
Outpatient rehab is most successful when used as an extension of a comprehensive inpatient rehab program. However, this type of rehab can be used as a standalone program as well.
Individuals who participate in an outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation program will often have access to group meetings, alumni events, sponsorship from previous graduates and one-on-one counseling. Outpatient addiction treatment programs typically meet one or two times per week for a few months. More intensive outpatient rehab programs may meet four to five days a week for several hours each day, depending on the needs of the patients.
The advantages of outpatient programs include the opportunity to build a support network that can help patients meet the challenges of the future. Applying the coping skills and mechanisms learned during inpatient rehab while still in the supportive environment of outpatient rehab can help patients adjust to independence.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Partial hospitalization programs fall in between inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab in the continuum of addiction treatment care. Partial hospitalization programs are generally offered by a hospital or clinical facility. These programs provide medication-assisted treatment as well as professional clinical supervision.
While participating in a partial hospitalization program, patients are expected to meet at the facility for four or five days a week for six to eight hours each day. While this sounds intensive, partial hospitalization programs can be a good option for individuals who are not able to leave home for an extended period of time to participate in an inpatient program. Partial hospitalization programs are generally more intensive than outpatient rehab programs.
Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs
A customized approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation leads to improved treatment outcomes. Specialized programs can offer an appropriate level of care for each patient’s recovery while accommodating their unique needs. Specialized treatment programs may include:
Medication-assisted treatment combines medications with behavioral therapy to treat addiction. Common medications include buprenorphine (Suboxone), which can prevent withdrawal and minimize cravings. Acamprosate (Campral) and disulfiram (Antabuse) are used during medication-assisted treatment for individuals suffering from an alcohol use disorder. These medications reinforce recovery by causing extreme illness and discomfort if the patient consumes alcohol.
Some drug and alcohol rehab facilities in Tennessee offer gender-specific addiction treatment programs for their patients who feel more comfortable when surrounded by individuals of their own gender. Some patients report that they were able to form stronger bonds and felt more comfortable sharing in group therapy sessions when participating in a gender-specific rehab program.
Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders
When an individual is diagnosed with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, it is known as a co-occurring disorder. Treatment for co-occurring disorders requires specialized programs that integrate therapy for mental health disorder and addiction. These programs will also enlist the help of licensed mental health clinicians and therapists.
Addiction Treatment Therapies
Therapies used in Tennessee drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs may include:
- Family therapy
- Group or individual counseling
- Stress management
- Life-skills training
- Relapse-prevention techniques and coping mechanisms
- Nutrition and exercise education
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Equine therapy
- Other holistic therapies
How To Pay For Addiction Treatment In Tennessee
It is common for commercial insurance plans to cover some or all of the cost of rehab. Numerous plans in Tennessee will cover drug and alcohol rehab. Variations in coverage levels can be affected by the length of treatment, in-network or out-of-network facilities and hospital associations. Plans vary by carrier.
For individuals who are not covered by insurance, there are numerous options that can help make addiction treatment more affordable. Many addiction treatment facilities offer payment plans, splitting the cost of rehab into monthly payments that can be more manageable. Sliding-scale fees can allow treatment centers to accommodate low-income individuals, and grants or scholarships can be an option for individuals like this as well.
Traveling For Addiction Treatment
Finding the drug or alcohol rehab facility that most closely fits a patient’s needs is the best approach for addiction treatment. Sometimes this may mean traveling out of state for treatment. While traveling for treatment may sound overwhelming, there are several benefits for the patient. From increased privacy to the ability to focus entirely on their treatment, considering out of state treatment may be the best option.Article Sources
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services - https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/mentalhealth/documents/Tennessee_Epidemiological_Profile_of_Alcohol_and_Drug_Misuse_and_Abuse.pdf