Can you make someone go to rehab in Tennessee?

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction is painful, especially when they are refusing to accept help. It is natural to then wonder if you can force them to go to rehab. Tennessee has specific laws on the books that allow loved ones to intervene when someone is having a mental health crisis and is refusing help. However, the law does not name addiction and substance abuse specifically. So, while you cannot legally force someone to go to drug rehab in Tennessee, there are laws to help families intervene during a mental health crisis.

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How bad is the addiction problem in Tennessee? Let’s look at some facts:

  • Drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 1,307 in 2018 (a rate of 19.9).
  • Knox County had the most drug overdoses of all Tennessee counties.
  • In 2019, Tennessee residents filled over 5.3 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers.
  • Doctors in Tennessee have the 3rd highest opioid prescribing rate of all US states.
  • Tennessee’s Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services reports that the top 3 substances of abuse in TN are opioids, alcohol and marijuana.

Drug overdose in Tennessee 2020:

  • Total drug overdose fatalities in Tennessee reached 1,818 in 2018.
  • The Knoxville, TN area stands out with a higher overdose rate than all other Tennessee regions. (About 57 deaths per 100,000 residents.)

The Good News:

  • While overdoses from synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are still increasing, overdoses from prescription opioids have decreased.
  • Prescriptions for Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Clonazepam) are trending downward in the Volunteer State, from 3.3 million in 2018 to 2.8 million in 2019.

We have a long way to go to fix the addiction problem in Tennessee. Luckily, the state’s 6.8 million residents don’t have to travel far to get to high-quality, cost-effective drug treatment.

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