Each year, thousands of lives are taken by what has become one of the biggest health crises in recent years – prescription drug abuse. In 2015, there were approximately 1,263 drug overdose deaths in Tennessee. While pain medication is necessary to treat many conditions, there is a need to take action to help prevent what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls an epidemic.
To help combat this growing issue, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has enacted new quantity limits on opioids. In addition, we’ve also implemented a prior authorization requirement for new long-acting opioid prescriptions. We’ve also partnered with Count It! Lock It! Drop It!™, to help educate Tennesseans about safe medication storage and disposal.
With a $1.3 million grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, our goal is to provide training and media-based public education, so we can inform all of our citizens about safe and proper disposal of prescription drugs.
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Dr. Andrea D. Willis is chief medical officer of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
This was taken from a longer piece that previously ran in The Tennessean, The Commercial Appeal and The Jackson Sun.