LAFOLLETTE (WATE) – The national opioid epidemic is affecting communities in East Tennessee.
The Centers for Disease Control in July released a monthly report, Vital Signs, that determined morphine equivalent milligrams per capita, annually for counties across the U.S. Three Tennessee counties are in the top twenty nationally: Campbell County, Claiborne County and Cocke County.
“We are seeing generational poverty. With that generational poverty becomes all that drug abuse. With that, we have to educate those kids and break that mold — this is not acceptable.” said Raewyn Snodderly, a pharmacist at Terry’s Pharmacy in LaFollette.
The CDC report shows there are six times more opioids per resident dispensed in the highest-prescribing counties than in the lowest-prescribing counties.
Campbell County prescribes the third highest morphine equivalent milligrams per capita, annually, at 3,304 in 2015. Claiborne County is the seventh highest, with 2,208.
Researchers at the CDC collected data through retail pharmacy receipts from 2006-2015, the report details any changes between 2010-2015 as to whether prescriptions have increased, decreased, or remained stable.