Nashville Treatment Guide

Addiction Guide for Spouses and Partners

Founded in 1779 and located in Davidson County, Nashville has a history as distinguished for its politics as its music. From 1865 to 1869, the 17th US President Andrew Johnson (who took office after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) defended Nashville against confederate forces that he believed threatened to divide the nation. For this and other political feats, Nashville is now the home of many buildings, statues, and other public landmarks that bear Johnson’s name and/or likeness. Nashville is also the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the famous center of country music.

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Locals and tourists alike undoubtedly appreciate Nashville’s historic sites, cultural offerings, and other sources of entertainment. But like most cities in America, Nashville is no stranger to the American drug epidemic.

Statistics on Drug Abuse and Treatment in Davidson County and Greater Tennessee

The 2016 Tennessee Behavioral Health County and Region Services Data Book (“the Tennessee Data Book”) includes extensive data from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) by county and for the state overall.

The following statistics for Davidson County (2014 population of 668,347) shed light on the drug abuse and treatment landscape in Nashville:

  • Looking at TDMHSAS-funded substance abuse treatment services alone, in 2015, there were 1,831 admissions in Davidson County, 1,589 in 2014, and 1,457 in 2013.
  • By gender, in 2015, TDMHSAS facilities in Davidson had 696 female admissions (38.01 percent) compared to 1,135 male admissions (61.99 percent). In 2014, the numbers were 542 females (34.1 percent) to 1,047 males (65.9 percent), and in 2013, there were 572 females (39.3 percent) compared to 885 males (60.7 percent).
    admission by gender
    • By age, in 2015, in the 25+ age group, there were 1,493 admissions, 1,277 admissions in 2014, and 1,257 admissions in 2013.
    • In the 18-24 age group, there were 224 admissions in 2015, 192 in 2014, and 164 in 2013.
    • By race, in 2015, there were 800 admissions of African Americans (43.7 percent), 951 admissions of Caucasians (51.9 percent), and 41 admissions of Latinos (2.2 percent).
    • By primary drug of abuse in 2015, the percentages are as follows based on treatment admissions: alcohol – 31 percent; cocaine/crack – 19 percent; opioids – 15 percent; heroin – 7 percent; other illicit prescription drugs – 4 percent; and methamphetamines/stimulants – 3 percent.
      admission by drug of abuse

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      To place the statistics from Davidson County in context, it is helpful to consider statewide statistics. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has published a set of Fast Facts that includes the following information about substance abuse and treatment admissions in the state:

      Statewide Statistics

      • In 2015, the population of Tennessee was 6,600,299, with 77.3 person being adults aged 18 and over (5,102,688).
      • From 2013 to 2014, of adults in the 18+ age group, an estimated 354,000 (7.2 percent of this segment of the population) abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the prior year.
      • From 2013 to 2014 of adults 18+, approximately 190,000 (3.9 percent) used pain relievers nonmedically.
      • From 2013 to 2014, of adults 18 and over, 23,059 were admitted to TDMHSAS-funded drug treatment programs.
      • In 2016, based on treatment admissions, the top three drugs of abuse were opioids (6,733 or 29.2 percent), alcohol (6,457 or 28 percent), and marijuana (2,629 or 11.4 percent).
      • In 2014, among adults in the 18+ age group, an estimated 45,294 (0.9 percent of the adult population) had a substance use disorder and a serious mental health disorder.
      • In 2014, among adults 18 and over, approximately 168,389 (3.3 percent of the adult population) had a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder.
      • In 2014, among youth in the 12-17 age group, approximately 24,000 (4.4 percent of this group) had abused alcohol or an illicit drug in the prior year.
      • From 2013 to 2014 among youth in the 12-17 age group, 1,231 received drug abuse treatment at TDMHSAS-funded facilities.

      While it is heartening to see the number of drug treatment admissions to TDMHSAS-funded programs, it must be assumed that only a fraction of those in need actually get help. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2015, approximately 21.7 million American (in the 12+ age group) needed drug abuse recovery treatment but only 2.3 million received help from a qualified facility. Seeking admission to a structured drug treatment program remains the most advisable course of action to take. Specific states, cities, and counties across America have commenced different initiatives to support drug abuse prevention and treatment, and Tennessee is no exception.

      Initiatives to Stem Drug Abuse in Nashville

      Public programs that aim to address drug abuse in Nashville are working on the frontline of the crisis. The drug issue is multifaceted and includes a supply side and a demand side. For this reason, different approaches must necessarily work in combination.

      To address the supply side of the issue, authorities have instituted numerous programs, including the Nashville (Tenn.) Drug Market Intervention program. The stated mission of the program is to monitor the streets for drug sales and provide an appropriate response, which should deter further drug sales and increase neighborhood safety. But the program is unique because it is not committed solely to criminalization. nashville drug market intervention program

      The program involves four phases of action: identification of drug sales, preparation, notification, and delivery of police resources. Identification includes the police gathering intelligence from the street to learn of the extent and nature of the drug sales. The preparation phase features different strategies, such as building informational networks and relationships with other enforcement authorities, community members, faith-based organizations, and local organizations. The notification stage involves inviting eligible offenders to change their behaviors and attitudes. During the resource delivery phase, eligible offenders are provided with various services, as needed, such as drug abuse treatment, skills building classes, job interviewing coaching, and education. Overall, this program is directed toward rehabilitation rather than criminalization.

      Numerous organizations (governmental and nonprofit) work to reduce the demand side of the drug abuse crisis in Nashville. Efforts include offering the public prevention services and treatment options. According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the following are some of the initiatives that the state has made and are presumed to be available in Nashville:

      State Initiatives

        state initiative
      • Tennesseans can join an anti-drug coalition and get involved in local and statewide efforts to prevent drug abuse.
      • The Take Only As Directed ad campaign seeks to educate the public on how to correctly take prescription medications to avoid the onset of abuse.
      • In Nashville, and elsewhere in Tennessee, individuals with extra or expired prescription pills can locate a Prescription Drug Take-Back Box via an interactive map.
      • The Lifeline Peer Project is dedicated to stigma reduction and increasing access to peer support organizations, such as Narcotics Anonymous.
      • The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant is intended to support access to prevention, treatment, and aftercare services. For instance, a Nashville organization that receives a grant could dedicate a portion to helping individuals receive services that are not covered by public insurance.
      • Tennessee has instituted the Substance Abuse Screenings in Tennessee (SBIRT-TN), an online screening tool that can assist with the detection of a substance use disorder. The tool also provides treatment referrals.
      • TIES: Therapeutic Intervention, Education, and Skills is an initiative committed to helping children, newborn through 17 years old, who are in need of social services as a result of parent or guardian drug abuse.
      • In 2016, Tennessee joined a nine-state anti-opioid abuse initiative to stem the traffic of opioids across state borders. There is a nationwide prescription opioid abuse epidemic, and Tennessee has been significantly affected. Working to diminish the supply of opioids by controlling state borders is one useful approach. Another, which can be performed at the individual level, is to never share one’s lawfully obtained prescribed opioids and to securely store them.
      • The Tennessee Highway Safety Office has sponsored events, such as prescription drug take-back days, to educate the public on the hazards of abusing or misusing drugs and then driving. In addition to alcohol, the safety office has identified the following eight prescription drug categories as potentially dangerous to drivers: cannabis, analgesics, inhalants, narcotics, dissociative anesthetics, hallucinogens, stimulants, and depressants.
      • Born Drug-Free Tennessee is a statewide initiative that has a central goal of increasing awareness of, and reducing the incidence of, babies born addicted to drugs. The campaign directs its resources toward educating expecting mothers and encourages them to speak with their doctors about any active or past prescription or other drug abuse.

      There are several factors involved in the success of a public initiative, including community involvement. For individuals who are affected by, or interested in, supporting anti-drug abuse/pro-abstinence programs, the above programs represent only a fraction of the ways to get involved. The foregoing initiatives send a clear message that drug use is preventable and help is available at every phase of abuse. It is critical to keep in mind that drug abuse is never a personal matter alone because there are numerous stakeholders involved in recovery, including the public. For some, locating a treatment facility may seem like an obstacle, but it never needs to be. There are numerous resources available in Tennessee to connect individuals with recovery services in Nashville.

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      The federal government, state authorities, municipalities, counties, and nonprofits are continuing to work to expand access to treatment services. When armed with the right information and resources, paying for drug recovery treatment is unlikely to be a barrier to treatment. Treatment at a drug recovery center may be free, low-cost, payable along a sliding scale, covered by private insurance, or covered by public insurance. The key is for a person in need or affected family members to know the options available and feel encouraged to pursue them.

      For qualifying individuals in need of drug detoxification services in Nashville or greater Tennessee, the  Medically Monitored Withdrawal Management Services (MMWM) may be able to help. The program provides around-the-clock medically supervised detoxification services. This inpatient program can help a person through the withdrawal process and ready them for entry into the main phase of treatment at a residential or outpatient drug treatment program. Note that drug detoxification services can be provided in different settings, such as a standalone clinic, a hospital, or within a drug rehab program. The provider sets the terms of payment and may accept payment out of pocket, from public or private insurance, or provide free or low cost services.

      finding low cost treatment The Tennessee Substance Abuse Treatment Provider Directory can help individuals to find free or low-cost inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, and halfway houses. In order to be eligible for free or low-cost treatment, individuals should be able to meet a financial needs test. The test takes numerous factors into consideration, such as a lack of financial resources to pay for treatment; that the person in need is not enrolled in TennCare (Tennessee’s Medicaid program), is without private or other public insurance, or has exhausted the spending limits under TennCare or another insurance program; and that their income meets the federal poverty guidelines (133 percent of the amount set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

      The Addictions Recovery Program (ARP) is also available to individuals who meet the 133 percent federal poverty guidelines criteria. This program may be especially helpful to individuals in Nashville or greater Tennessee who have co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Tennessee residents who are 18 and older can be screened for eligibility.

      Drug Recovery Program Locators

      There are numerous drug recovery program locators that Tennessee residents can use, including:

      Nonprofits

      Nonprofits are also a source of support. The following may be of assistance to Nashville, and greater Tennessee, residents:

      • The Council for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services (CADAS) is one of only a few nonprofit drug treatment centers in Tennessee that offer its clients a full continuum of care.
      • Mending Hearts, located in Nashville, is a drug recovery program that receives partial funding from a Tennessee Department of Mental Health grant. All in need are welcome to apply for admission, but there is treatment priority for pregnant women.
      • The Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & Other Addiction Services (TAADAS), founded in 1976, is a nonprofit dedicated to providing information and support to individuals experiencing a substance use disorder (as well as other disorders). TAADAS maintains the Tennessee REDLINE, reachable at 1-800-889-9789. REDLINE provides Tennessee residents with information relevant to drug abuse and offers referrals to drug treatment centers.

      The first step to getting help for substance abuse may feel like a leap, so having support from loved ones is helpful, but there is always help beyond one’s immediate family. Again, the public has a stake in its members’ sobriety and abstinence. For this reason, there are numerous professional services available to those who are willing to start the recovery progress or return to treatment after a relapse. Whatever a person’s specific needs, programs and qualified addiction specialists are available to help in Nashville.

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