Reducing Substance Abuse Harms in Middle Tennessee: Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

In counties and communities across Tennessee, coalitions for substance use prevention are working hard to reduce dependence on potentially lethal substances, such as prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The Tennessee Prevention Alliance (PAT) is devoted to informing and advocating for alcohol safety, substance abuse prevention, and public health policies among Tennesseans and legislators. Prevention efforts focus on the root causes of substance abuse, such as trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and resilience. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) collaborates with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to visit tobacco product retailers across the state to ensure they are following the law.

The PAT brings together anti-drug coalition groups that work to reduce substance use in Tennessee. Every year, the TDMHSAS submits a report detailing its law enforcement activities. The TN Recover app is designed for people recovering from a substance use disorder or those looking to learn more about addiction prevention. It is important to review features that can protect you from substance abuse and those that increase your risk.

If the use of a substance such as alcohol or drugs causes negative health effects or problems at home, work, or school, this may be a sign of a substance use disorder. The TDMHSAS receives a global grant from the federal government to provide services and activities that support prevention, treatment, and recovery for people at risk of suffering from or who have a substance abuse problem. Prevention is any activity aimed at preventing substance abuse and reducing its social and health consequences. Harm reduction is a way of preventing illness and promoting health that meets people where they are without making judgments about where they should be.

The Tennessee Prevention Network (TPN) is comprised of 19 agencies in Tennessee that provide education on substance abuse prevention. The Lifeline Peer project was established to reduce stigma related to addiction and increase access to recovery for substance use, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Nashville Recovers seeks to spread the word that substance abuse recovery is available and accessible in the city. If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, call Tennessee REDLINE now at 1-800-889-9789 for assistance.

With the right resources and support, it is possible to overcome addiction and lead a healthy life free from substance abuse. Prevention efforts are key in reducing the harms associated with substance use, but it is also important to have access to treatment and recovery services when needed.

Herbert Denbow
Herbert Denbow

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