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Tennessee Chamber launches statewide opioid toolkit

From staff reports • Nov 20, 2019 at 3:30 PM

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry announced on Tuesday the launch of a statewide effort to inform and engage the business community about the impact of opioid abuse.

Chamber President and CEO Bradley Jackson announced both a statewide tour and the launch of the chamber’s opioid toolkit.

This toolkit and regional meetings partnering with local chambers of commerce, provides resources and information for employers and communities to identify and manage the significant problems with substance use disorder, prevent substance use, and improve and promote safety in the workplace and in communities at large.

The toolkit, specifically modeled from national experts, includes an employer resource library to help companies address substance use disorder in the workplace through employee policy best practices and managerial buy-in. The Tennessee Chamber has also provided a directory of local and statewide resources for employers in each grand division. Resources range from preventive services and coalitions, local recovery care organizations, unused prescription drug take back programs, and national treatment and support programs.

The opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll on the state of Tennessee. In 2018, 1,827 people in Tennessee died of an overdose, the deadliest year on record according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As one of the hardest hit states in the nation, Tennessee is witnessing the impact of the crisis in all areas. The Nashville Fire Department administered naloxone, a drug that prevents overdoses due to opioids, to 224 patients during the month of June 2019, a 25% increase from the year prior. According to a policy research group at the University of Tennessee, the opioid epidemic annually costs Tennesseans over $2 billion as of 2017, largely due to lost income of people who have left the labor market due to a substance use disorder.

“The Tennessee Chamber is proud to provide this important resource to help businesses and communities prevent substance use in the workplace, intervene with employees who need help, reduce stigma, and connect with local resources to address the opioid epidemic,” said Jackson. “Tennessee businesses are on the frontline of this fight against opioids, and as the statewide business association, we believe our effort to inform businesses and utilize this toolkit will increase productivity and improve safety in the workplace.”

While employers can take advantage of the Tennessee Chamber’s opioid toolkit today, the chamber will hold events to bring together local employers, first responders, health care representatives, and recovery care organizations in early 2020. These events will be held in Kingsport, Maryville, Murfreesboro, and Jackson, Tennessee, in partnership with local chambers. Employers and interested community members can find the toolkit at www.tnchamber.org/otk.

About Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the unified voice of business and premier advocacy organization in the state. The Tennessee Chamber serves as the State Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association, the state affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council. The Tennessee Chamber creates prosperity for all Tennesseans through an economy of increased productivity and global competitiveness. Find out more at www.tnchamber.org.