By: Holly Fletcher
The Tennessean
September 19, 2016

Health care professionals in Tennessee last year wrote more than 7.8 million opioid prescriptions — or 1.18 for every man, woman and child — even as the state grapples with a scourge of painkiller addiction and abuse.

The total places Tennessee second in the nation, behind only Alabama in prescriptions of the drugs, according to IMS Health data. Even though the number of scripts has fallen by 724,070 since 2013 when there were over 8.5 million total prescriptions, the state remains ensconced as a leader in prescribing oxycodone, hydrocodone and Percocet.

The state, along with the nation, is in an opioid epidemic. In 2014, still the latest year available, 1,263 Tennesseans died from opioid overdose — be it painkillers or heroin — a figure that outpaces those who died in car accidents or from firearms.

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