TAADAS advocates for meaningful and appropriate access to high quality addiction care and the tools to achieve these goals. Currently, TAADAS is concerned with the need for more state-funded substance abuse treatment and recovery housing options to serve those without any source for accessing recovery. We support both providers and consumers with these efforts, striving to influence and shape the available delivery system of health care services. In support of these goals, TAADAS secured an advocacy grant from the Healing Trust which will enable stronger more collaborative approaches.
TAADAS monitors state and national policies on addictions, co-occurring, prevention, and recovery-support services. If TAADAS determines the treatment and recovery communities are or will be negatively affected by existing or potential legislation or policy initiatives, we strive to reach out to our collaborative partners to address any barriers to service. Often, TAADAS is the voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves or who have simply given up on receiving help for substance use disorder or mental health treatment services.
The next Legislative Committee meeting will be held on November 8th at 4PM EST at the Crowne Plaza Knoxville (401 W Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902). All TAADAS members are invited to attend the meeting and dinner to follow. Highlighted items on the Legislative Committee agenda include strategic plans for advocacy and preparing for the 2019 Legislative Session.
The Legislative Committee meets the Wednesday before each TAADAS Membership Board Meeting at 4:00 PM. Locations will vary, and TAADAS staff will send emails to all committee members proior to the meeting to confirm the location and agenda. Watch this page and your inbox for more details on upcoming meetings!
When: The Wednesday preceeding the board meeting at 4:00 pm.
Where: Locations vary, committee members should check their email for that information.
TAADAS 2018 Legislative Session Recap
Background: The 110th General Assembly completed its business on April 25th, 2018 and adjourned sine die, that is without a day to return. The 111th General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 in an organizational session, which will include the election and appointment of new legislative leadership and the appointment of new committee membership.
Upcoming Elections: In the next election cycle, there will be three open senate seats with no incumbent and 23 open house seats with no incumbent seeking reelection. Those 23 seats include the ones presently held by Speaker Beth Harwell, Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel, Finance Committee Chair Charles Sargent, and Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. These departures, along with a new governor in 2019, will create significant changes in the state's leadership.
Parity: With the passage of SB 2165 by Briggs / HB 2355 by McCormick, the General Assembly revised its previously mandated coverage of mental health or alcoholism or drug dependency benefit to create compliance with the 2008 federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Effective January 1, 2019, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance during its market conduct examination of each health insurance company shall review the company’s compliance with the parity requirements of this bill. By January 31, 2020, the Department shall make a report to the General Assembly and post on the Department’s website the compliance efforts of the health insurance companies with this bill. Here is a link to the legislation: HB2355/SB2165
Governor’s Budget / TN Together: The budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 was passed by both the House and Senate and includes more than $15 million in new state dollars to fund treatment and services in the fight against opioid addiction. The Governor also proposed and passed a legislative package known as TN Together to aid in battling the state’s opioid crisis. The plan was comprised of two pieces of legislation. The first bill (HB1831/SB2257) limits the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients. With initial opioid prescriptions limited to a 3-day supply, Tennessee will have one of the most strict and aggressive opioid policies in the nation. Prescribers may offer patients a three, five, or 10-day prescription with no more than a 10-day supply subject to a dosage cap. The bill includes exceptions for serious ailments, such as major surgeries and chronic conditions. Although the bill amassed wide support, the Tennessee Medical Association expressed concerns about the possible ramifications on medical provider autonomy.
The second bill (HB1832/SB2258) creates incentives for inmates to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated and updates the schedule of controlled substances to better detect and penalize unlawful use and distribution of opioids. It also adds synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl, linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths, to the controlled substance schedules. The bill also includes a prohibition on the sale or distribution of Kratom to anyone under 21 years of age. For more on TN Together visit www.tn.gov/opioids.
Marketing of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facilities: As introduced, HB2068/SB2005 originally sought to create a criminal penalty for service providers of alcohol and drug services, operators of alcohol and drug treatment facilities (ADTF), or third party marketing services to make false or misleading marketing statements that can be demonstrated as “materially false.” Committee amendments stripped the bill of the criminal penalty provision and substituted language which stipulates that agencies engaging in misleading marketing practices as defined in the bill are subject to suspension or revocation of the person or entity's license and the imposition of civil penalties.
Hypodermic Needle Exchange: Sen. Yarbro and Rep. Fitzhugh passed HB2675/SB2359 allowing county and district health departments to petition for approval from county legislative bodies to create needle and hypodermic syringe exchange programs. The bill also notes that all programs must be funded entirely by the county legislative body making petition to the county or district health department. Sen. Dickerson and Rep. Hazelwood passed HB2180/SB1977 revising the distance parameter for the prohibition on a hypodermic syringe exchange program being operated within 2,000 feet of a school or park to make the parameter 1,000 feet in Nashville/Davidson County and in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis.
Other Items of Note:
House Joint Resolution 1189 Memorializing the life of Rod Bragg; and House Joint Resolution 1174 Congratulating Jon Jackson for his service as President of the Tennessee Association of Alcohol Drug & other Addiction Services
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has recently unveiled a a new Fast Facts data portal on the department’s website. Users can now easily access county by county comparisons on available treatment options, including crisis services, treatment and recovery providers, psychiatric hospitals, and more. The portal includes location and contact information on other specialty services like Recovery Congregations and Recovery Courts.
When you speak or meet with a legislator, your feedback afterwards assists TAADAS with our advocacy efforts and with an understanding of what our recovery community is experiencing at this time. We appreciate you taking a moment to review and complete this evaluation form.
Research group, The Sycamore Institute, recently released two updates on the opioid crisis in Tennessee with important information for parties interested in addiction. The first resources is a compilation of new policy updates from 2018 that relate to fighting opioid addiction. The second is an update on indicators of progress, detailing the impact of efforts to curb the opioid epedemic so far. Follow the links below to access these resrouces:
To help address the nationwide addiction crisis and strengthen the road to recovery, states need to invest in access to quality recovery housing. Evidence shows that recovery housing is instrumental in helping individuals with substance use disorders achieve and sustain a life in recovery. Despite this, recovery homes are often under-resourced and excluded from public sector policies and resources. In response, the National Council for Behavioral Health and National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) issued Building Recovery: State Policy Guide for Supporting Recovery Housing to assist states with the creation of recovery housing certification programs that standardize recovery housing operations to protect and support residents.
Building Recovery provides states the knowledge and guidance to adopt recovery housing standards, incentivize compliance and invest in recovery housing infrastructure. The toolkit also includes sample resources such as a model state law, a legislative matrix of current and proposed recovery housing bills, an action assessment and list of research briefs that are publicly available for review.
During the 2018 Legislative Session, Governor Haslam proposed and passed a legislative package known as TN Together to aid in battling the state’s opioid crisis. The plan was comprised of two pieces of legislation.
The first bill (HB1831/SB2257) limits the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients. With initial opioid prescriptions limited to a 3-day supply, Tennessee will have one of the most strict and aggressive opioid policies in the nation. Prescribers may offer patients a three, five, or 10-day prescription with no more than a 10-day supply subject to a dosage cap. The bill includes exceptions for serious ailments, such as major surgeries and chronic conditions. Although the bill amassed wide support, the Tennessee Medical Association expressed concerns about the possible ramifications on medical provider autonomy.
The second bill (HB1832/SB2258) creates incentives for inmates to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated and updates the schedule of controlled substances to better detect and penalize unlawful use and distribution of opioids. It also adds synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl, linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths, to the controlled substance schedules. For more on TN Together visit www.tn.gov/opioids.
The opioid crisis is worsening. Over 42,000 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2016, and government and public health officials are scrambling to find effective ways to reverse this frightening trend.
NSC experts conducted an extensive review of current literature, state legislation and data to create a comprehensive report on the status of the opioid crisis. This white paper evaluates each state's progress in fighting this epidemic, based on the number of these six key actions achieved:
The Prescription Nation 2018 report gives you:
As the death toll from opioid overdose increases, addressing the crisis becomes ever more urgent. Only 13 states and District of Columbia have improved their response to the opioid crisis since our 2016 report. Sadly, eight states earned failing grades this time. Is your state doing enough? What can we do to turn the tide of an epidemic that is endangering the future of our country?
The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences. The last chapter of the Report presents a vision for the future, five general messages, their implications for policy and practice, and recommendations for specific stakeholder groups.
Freeman Recovery Center Open House
Freeman Recovery Center in Dickson, Tennessee has a remarkable his-tory and legacy. Built in the early 1900s, the Freeman house is a two-story colonial home (about 4,700 square feet) that housed both the first mayor of Dickson as well as be-ing the childhood home of their cur-rent state representative. The home has been restored to showcase many fine details and to provide a welcoming environment.
The home now houses eight men in the residential program of Freeman Recovery. An Open House was held June 22, 2016 to highlight the renovations of this site as well as a newer site downtown. The second site is located in downtown Dickson and houses an intensive outpatient program as well as administrative offices.
Shawn E. Baker. President and CEO (pictured left) , started the program in 2012 after finding his own recovery from addiction. The program has achieved notional recognition as a Joint Commission accredited pro-gram.
The Dickson County Chamber of Commerce officiated the ribbon cutting ceremony. Participants included many former residents, local prevention coalition members, local Re-covery Court staff and Marie Crosson, Executive Director of the TN Association of Drug Court Profession-als. Mary Linden Salter, Executive Director of TAADAS also participated along with TAADAS staff mem-bers Kathleen Kennedy and Anthony Pugh.
Patriot Place Open House
Buffalo Valley Opened Patriot Place housing for Veteran’s in Clarksville, TN on June 13, 2016 . Debbie Hillin and Jerry Risner of Buffalo Valley were joined by Mayor Kim McMillan, TN Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs Com-missioner Many Bears Grinder, Bob Currie from TDMHSAS, and the City of Clarksville’s Office of Housing & Community Development (see digni-tary photo right) for the opening. Patriot Place is an affordable housing program available to homeless men and women veterans. This is a drug-free, transitional housing pro-gram where “veterans are helping veterans.” It provides the ca-maraderie of living in a structured, substance-free environment. Buffalo Valley offers many resources, such as case management, relapse prevention, vocational rehabilitation, job readiness/placement, housing, and transportation. Their goal is to help cli-ents achieve lifelong recovery from addiction and homelessness through residential stability, increased income/skills and greater self- determination.
Aspell Recovery Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening
Aspell Recovery held an event for their new Men’s Residential Dorm on May 6, 2016. Les Jaco, Board President, welcomed those gath-ered for the event. Mayors Jimmy Harris and Jerry Gist for Jackson and Montgomery County spoke as well along with Deann Thelen from West Tennessee Healthcare. Richard Barber, Executive Director of Aspell, spoke about this new resource and how the plans for it developed and came to fruition (see dignitaries photo left). Aspell programs include residential treat-ment, intensive out-patient and so-ber living.
Aspell is grateful for the support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cin-cinnati and West TN Healthcare.
On Saturday, September 17th The Next Door in Nashville began a new tradition to celebrate sobriety with their first annual Sober Fest. Recovery Services Manager Ramie Siler saw a need for the women in their treatment program to have “sober fun” while recognizing their recovery accomplishments. The women of The Next Door committed to celebrate Sober Fest each year as a part of National Recovery Month.
“Sober Fest is another way for The Next Door to meet their goal of raising awareness about recovery, sharing the transformation of lives, families, and communities. Addiction has the ability to tear families apart. Sobriety and recovery can bring them back together. Sober Fest can help to remove the stigma of addiction and transcend the shame that women often feel when going through the journey of recovery,” said Patience Ruffin, Director of Treatment Services. Dedicated volunteers from The Next Door has made this day a success.
Snow cone and popcorn machines were donated by the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Off the Row Recording Studio offered sound and talent with musicians Jah-Way, Megan Golden, A&Em Duo, and Jeff Dayton and Scott Barrier lent their voices and their time. Eager children and adults waited in line for a volunteer face painter. Artwork from the women of the program was proudly displayed during the event. Art work goes beyond Sober Fest for these women. “The art work was completed by some of our clients specifically for Sober Fest.
The women worked over a course of two months to create pieces that were special to them and expressed their thoughts and feelings regarding recovery. ‘Art for the Heart’ is the name of our in-house residential art therapy program here at The Next Door. It is another facet in the healing of addiction and on-going recovery. All of our feelings, fears, and emotions that overwhelm us during recovery come from the heart and when verbal expression fails, the creation of art allows us to express ourselves silently through images and symbols. Every picture tells a story. Psalm 139,” said Ruffin. An event must always have good food and Jason’s Deli was there to donate food, time, and encouragement to the women and families of The Next Door.
General Manager and Partner of Jason’s Deli on West End, Dennis O’Keefe, and Catering Business Development Manager, Jamie Helm, attended the event O’Keefe stated, “I'm involved with the recovery community because I am in recovery. It has become part of my giving back to help others reestablish. I also found an untapped resource of quality employees in recovery community that is unlike anywhere else.” Ruffin said, "It is our hope that not only our clients, but their families were able to learn that recovery is a journey and we must celebrate every success along the way. We also wanted to ensure we reached out to the community by inviting alumni of The Next Door and other treatment programs in the area. We wanted everyone to feel empowered and hopeful about recovery. After our first event, we are excited to make this an annual celebration at The Next Door”
Want to learn about affordable health care and the Coverage Gap? Want to teach your friends? This video explains it all!
In the past 2 years, 7 rural hospitals have closed or drastically altered their services. One reason for these changes is because we don't have a plan to close the coverage gap, and they see too much uncompensated care. Watch the video to find out what hospitals have closed, how that community is affected, and then go to www.tnjustice.org/action to take action.
Stories shared by those in recovery help us to understand the challenges faced when seeking treatment and stabilization. We can help others who face these same hurtles, use the link below to let us know your story and what you faced when seeking treatment services and the ultimate outcome of those services.