The Cost of Addiction: Chattanooga Works Podcast Episode 4

By Eric Lisica

Someone you know may be struggling with addiction. According to the CDC, healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in 2012, enough for every adult in America to fill one prescription. Fast forward to 2018, and every 12 minutes someone in America dies from an opioid overdose. The numbers are staggering, but the guests on our latest episode of Chattanooga Works help us understand them.

In this episode of Chattanooga Works, we're joined by Mary Danielson, Director of Corporate Communications at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Debbie Loudermilk, Director of Outpatient Services at CADAS, to discuss opioid misuse, addiction and how to get treatment. Maybe someone in your family struggles with addiction, but you don’t know how to approach them. We hope this sheds light on a topic not often discussed.

BlueCross BlueShield’s national business group on health recommends employers take a five step approach to dealing with opioid addiction in their community. First, educate the workforce about the dangers of using opioids. Second, revise management training to help managers spot signs of addiction. Third, encourage employees to safely dispose of unused pills. Fourth, implement access to high quality mental health services and employee assistance programs. Lastly, consider covering alternative pain management options.

The Tennessee REDLINE (1-800-889-9789) is a toll-free information and referral line coordinated by TAADAS and funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health Substance Abuse Services. The purpose of the REDLINE is to provide accurate, up-to-date alcohol, drug, problem gambling and other addiction information and referrals to all citizens of Tennessee at their request. The REDLINE provides referrals for co-occcurring A&D disorders that arise along with mental health disorders.