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VOL. 41 | NO. 35 | Friday, September 1, 2017

Required pain clinic referral among state opioid panel ideas

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NASHVILLE (AP) — A panel of Tennessee lawmakers wants to address the opioid epidemic with referral requirements at pain clinics, more state investigators and a public awareness program.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that House Speaker Beth Harwell's opioid task force released dozens of final recommendations Wednesday.

The group is recommending 25 new Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents to address the issue. It also said independent referrals should be necessary so people can't just walk into pain clinics.

The panel calls for further limitations on how much emergency rooms can issue controlled drugs. And it wants to develop consistencies across counties so there's a more accurate count of overdose deaths.

Harwell told reporters she'll review the issue will be a priority during the legislative session that begins in January.