UPDATE: HHS Sec. Price, Gov. Haslam, Conway visit CADAS to learn more about opioid crisis
By WRCB Staff
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
A problem knows no political party. That's what Governor Haslam said about the opioid crisis plaguing the state of Tennessee. Thursday, White House officials made their way to the Scenic City to work towards fixing the problem.
White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway along with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price toured CADAS to learn more about the opioid epidemic gripping the nation.
Secretary Price said the opioid crisis in America will require lots of money and attention to reverse the problem. But one recovering addict said it will take more than that to fix the crisis that killed 52 million Americans in 2015.
“For the first couple of years of my addiction, I didn't even know there were people like you that didn't use drugs,” said recovering addict, Mallie Moore. She is one of the millions of Americans affected by opioids. “Through my addiction, I had three children, two of them were born addicted. My last child was not born addicted because I went to a recovery house.”
For 10 years she battled addiction and was in and out of recovery centers. She is now clean and sober and is relying on government officials to help others beat the epidemic.
Secretary Tom Price and White House Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway joined Governor Haslam in Chattanooga, to discuss the president's plans to end the crisis. “We want to make certain the overdose-reversing drug Narcan is available all across this land so we can save more lives. We want to address the why, why is it that so many people feel so hopeless? And why is the addiction that is a disease is not being treated in the way it needs to be treated,” said Secretary Price.
Tennessee is ranked 5th in the nation for overdose deaths, in 2015 nearly 15 hundred Tennesseans died from opioid-related causes. “The way we build recovery communities, is by starting to have conversations and making those who are in pain, and those who feel the addiction, to come forward and seek the help,” said Conway.
The new health care bill designates 2 billion dollars for support, treatment and recovery services for people with mental or substance abuse. Moore said the money will help, but those fighting the disease will need more than that to win the battle. “Don't give up until a miracle happens, one day at a time, and living in the moment is what I really stuck with during my recovery,” said Moore.
The annual cost of the opioid epidemic is estimated at more than 78 billion dollars.
According to The Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee has the second highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country. Five percent of residents are addicted to opiates.
PREVIOUS STORY: Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price visited Chattanooga today, accompanied by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Kellyanne Conway, special counsel to President Donald Trump.
Price was at CADAS (Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Service) talking, and listening, about how the opioid crisis has affected the Tennessee Valley. His listening tour continues around the United States.
Reporter Kate Smith will have more on this story tonight on Channel 3 Eyewitness News.