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Addiction recovery pros pleased with Gov. Haslam's opioid plan


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/AP)  --  Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to address the opioid addiction epidemic received a warm reception from the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and other Addiction Services.

The organization represents many of the state’s addiction treatment facilities and counselors.

On Monday the governor promised $25 million in additional spending for treatment. The Association’s Mary-Linden Salters said she’s happy with that increase.

Still, she concedes that even with the new dollars about eight out of ten Tennessean’s will still not have access to needed care.

“Will it meet absolutely every need? I suspect not, but it is a step in the right direction and one that we applaud for that reason.”

Salters said Tennessee’s addiction treatment community is also pleased that the governor and lawmakers were willing to ask for help in designing the state’s response to the pain killer addiction problem.

“So, the plan for the most part is something that we feel like is built on our suggestions and the community stakeholder suggestions.”

The governor’s plan would also include a public education campaign directed at Tennessee’s grade school children, an outreach to pregnant women who are addicted, treatment for state prisoners, and more drug enforcement officers.

The plan drew a tepid response from legislative Democrats. They said expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would go much further in combating an opioid problem that claimed 1,186 lives in Tennessee through overdoses in 2016.