Anesthesiologists elected as state lawmakers are new voice on opioid issue

(PHoto: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee State Representative Dr. Bryan Terry ran for office on a variety of issues when he was elected , but his voice on the opioid and drug abuse crisis Tennessee capitol may be his most important issue.

“I want to bring awareness to patients and the public,” he told News 2 recently after he and fellow lawmaker and anesthesiologist Sen. Steve Dickerson announced they were looking at series of measures to be considered next year by the General Assembly.

From a Rutherford County medical facility where he practices, Terry outlined a first step he would like to see in the complex and multi-level opioid and drug abuse crisis.

(Photo: WKRN)

It’s a crisis where medications he administers like Fentanyl and Sufentanil are at the heart of the problem.

“When we use we use Fentanyl in the pre-operative setting, get it in a liquid form, and its tightly controlled,” he told News 2.

The doctor and lawmaker outlined why tougher measures for trafficking these drugs and their derivatives or analogs are needed.

Most are manufactured elsewhere, and then brought into the country, some even laced with heroin.

“Getting it in our streets and with the potency it has, and the analogs its has with increased risks for addiction and death,” added Rep. Terry. “If we don’t get in front of this, it will be a major health crisis.”

Dr. Bryan Terry (Photo: WKRN)

Terry also wants to tackle doctors prescribing too many opioids for a patient’s pain. He feels that’s been encouraged by federal regulation which now has been pulled back.

“I think you will see, hopefully you will see, a mentality shift from both prescribers and patients,” said Terry.

He also hopes to see new ways of treating pain other than with opioids.

More on that later this week when we will look at the efforts of Senator Dickerson, the other anesthesiologist taking a lead on Tennessee’s opioid issue.

Read more about Tennessee’s Opioid Crisis at wkrn.com/opioids.