Tennessee opioid recommendations come with praise, criticism

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The recommendations of a Tennessee task force on the opioid epidemic are being called “a start” in some corners, but they are being criticized as well.

One of those optimistic is Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold who welcomes one of the key recommendations that 25 agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation should be funded in next year’s state budget.

“Anytime TBI has more agents on the ground, that definitely means I am going to be calling them and asking for their help on things,” he told New 2 after the recommendations were released Wednesday.

State Representative Brian Terry who is an anesthesiologist hopes any regulation does not hinder proper use of opioids for treating pain.

“You may end up pushing patients out or making it harder for patients to receive the care they need,” Dr. Terry told News 2. “So I want to make sure there is balance.”

A senate Democrats says the state fell behind in the opioid fight when thousands of Tennesseans did not get coverage by expanding the state’s Medicaid program TennCare with Obamacare funds.

“If we’re not going to talk about expanding Medicaid to insure that somebody can actually afford treatment, then we are not having the serious discussions we need to have,” he told News 2.

First word about potential funding for the opioid crisis could come later this year at Governor Bill Haslam’s budget hearings.