Drastic restrictions for opioid prescriptions in Tennessee


Lawmakers want to cut down on opioid abuse. They passed a law that restricts doctors to give more than three days’ worth of pain killers at a time.

Imagine doctors handing out more opioid prescriptions than there are people. According to state records, that’s the reality in Tennessee.

“Whatever you've heard about opioid epidemic, it's soft sold. It's worse than it's being told,” said David McNabb, President and CEO of Adult and Teen Challenge in Chattanooga.

David McNabb counsels drugs addicts in Chattanooga. He doesn’t agree that everyone should face the restriction.

“When you have a national emergency, all of us have to pay the price,” said McNabb.

Jordan Morrison echoes this same concern. He’s a pharmacist at Access Family Pharmacy in Hixson. As of January 1, he can only fill a narcotic prescription for a three day supply for most patients.

“It's definitely more of a headache for people who do things responsibly,” said Morrison.

The problem is, legislation only covers three, 10, 20 and 30 day supplies.

The higher the quantity, the higher the qualifications.

That means patients who have a seven day supply for example, will likely only get half of what they need at first visit.

Pharmacists say there’s still some grey area on what they can give. Plus, patients must pick up the rest of their opioid prescription within 30 days.

Pharmacists say they’re running into problems with insurance when the full quantity can’t be given in one visit.

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