Educated and informed people have an opportunity to make an impact on the life expectancies of opioid addicts in Eastern Tennessee!
The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency is holding a fact-finding public hearing, regarding the certificate of need application for a methadone treatment facility, proposed to be located in Johnson City, Tennessee.
This meeting will be held on May 28th, 5pm, in the Jones Meeting Center, Johnson City Public Library, on 100 West Millard Street in Johnson City, Tennessee.
There’s a desperate need for medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction in that part of Tennessee. Opioid addicts can get treatment in office-based Suboxone practices now, but as discussed in previous entries on this blog, this can be an expensive treatment. Many addicts don’t have insurance to pay for this treatment, which is then out of financial reach. For other addicts, buprenorphine, being a partial opioid, isn’t strong enough. Methadone can work beautifully for patients who don’t do well on buprenorphine (known to most as Suboxone or Subutex). However, there are no methadone treatment programs in Eastern Tennessee, so a clinic in that area is desperately needed. The nearest in-state clinic is in Knoxville.
People who know methadone works and saves lives need to go to this meeting to be heard. I suspect there will be people there who know next to nothing about methadone who are nonetheless opposed to a clinic. We’ve all met them: people adamantly opposed to methadone even though their brains are uncomplicated with any actual knowledge of methadone. And there will the NIMBYs, the not-in-my-backyard people.
Citizens who know there are scientific studies showing that methadone is an evidence-based treatment shown to save lives need to go and be heard. Tell other people at the meeting about the forty years’ of studies consistently showing that methadone maintenance reduces overdose death rates, improves overall physical and mental health, increases rates of employment, reduces the risk of suicide, dramatically reduces criminal activities of opioid addicts (by a whopping 91%), and reduces the rates of new cases of HIV.
It’s hard to imagine the certificate of need could be denied, but remember attempts to locate a methadone treatment center in Eastern Tennessee have tried – and failed – ten times before. Let’s hope science and reason can win over ignorance and prejudice.
If, like me, you can’t make the meeting, please send a letter to:
Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency
Melanie M. Hill, Executive Director
Frost Building, 3rd floor
161 Rosa Parks Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37243