Opioid Epidemic

10-Point Plan to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Randy believes that Tennessee opioid epidemic has reached a state of emergency. Randy is the only candidate who has offered a plan for addressing the crisis head on from day one. His plan will unleash the full power and increased resources of state government to begin beating back the spread of addiction from these drugs.


Declare a State of Emergency: As Governor, and if we remain at crisis level, I will issue an immediate Executive Order declaring the opioid epidemic a State of Emergency, unleashing the full power and increased resources of state government to begin beating back the spread of addiction from these drugs. My office will lead the coordination between every level of government, and better coordinate with non-government organizations, to support the men and women fighting this crisis everyday by ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Appoint a “Chief Epidemic Officer:” As Governor, I will appoint a temporary cabinet-level position to help me get the job done. This position will be held accountable and report directly to me as governor and he/she will be provided with the authority, flexibility and resources to attack this plague on every front. As this must be an all hands-on-deck approach, our CEO will have the direct mandate to coordinate with every needed agency, including, but not limited to: the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, TennCare, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, TBI and other federal, state, and local law enforcement, volunteer and faith based agencies, and many others.

Secure Needed Resources: As Governor, I will not only work with state and local government, but also the federal government and the White House to make sure Tennessee has every resource we need to combat this epidemic. That includes providing first responders and law enforcement with needed tools, like expanding access to Naloxone in not only high-risk areas but across the state to help save lives.


Dramatically Reduce Over Prescription: As Governor, we will stop the over prescription of opioids. There is no reason why Tennessee should prescribe twice the national average. I will work with the medical community to ensure that we have the best protocols and rules in place as it relates to prescribing these medications, including working with the pharmacy community to increase check points with doctors and multi–factor verification points for opiate prescriptions. We want patients to get the care they need, but we must work to see that our state’s medical professionals follow the safest protocols and cut down on over-prescribing.

Create a Statewide Education Campaign: As Governor, I will lead the effort to create a new statewide education campaign that reaches every Tennessean – especially patients at the time of prescription, students in our schools, adults, and health care professionals — educating on the dangers and risks associated with these drugs and the ease of addiction. The scope, magnitude and impact of this campaign will be like the anti-tobacco campaign, MADD and the Meth Project, where we will partner with local governments, school districts, and local drug coalitions, like the Metro Drug Coalition in Knoxville that I have worked with, to reach all Tennesseans.

Ensure Patient Protection and Information: As Governor, I will work with health care professionals to spearhead the effort to develop a comprehensive patient information video for required viewing by all patients prior to receiving an opiate prescription. It will directly warn of the dangers, how easily it is to become addicted, and the deadly consequences of addiction, while also offering alternatives.

Expand Drug Disposal Sites: As Governor, I will work with community leaders to massively expand drug disposal sites, removing unnecessary barriers, so disposal sites become as accessible and convenient as any pharmacy, or community drug store.


Expand Drug Recovery Courts and Recovery Court Model: As Governor, I will expand and build on successful Recovery Court programs and work to make sure we have these in each judicial district across the state. Working together we can create the most robust and dedicated Recovery Court Program in the country, along with enabling our court systems to follow the best practices we identify to help those afflicted with addiction recover and become healthy and productive Tennesseans.

Create Best in the Country Treatment and Recovery Network: As Governor, I will rededicate resources to our mental health, treatment, and recovery network in Tennessee, and work to develop the best recovery centers in the country. In expanding the number of these centers, we will also ensure that they follow the best, evidence-based practices that will truly aid in the lifelong process of recovery. This will be a significant investment, but one that will provide a significant return on our investment, and, in the end, an ultimate return in saving more Tennessee lives – which are priceless.

Increase Drug Interdiction Efforts and Punishment for Traffickers: As Governor, I will work with law enforcement, our state legislature and local officials to increase drug interdiction efforts, as well as increase the punishment and accountability for those who are saturating our community with these drugs, both prescription opiates and heroin.

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