- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance are together hoping to bring a nonprofit methadone and burenorphine treatment center to Gray to help addicts in an area that has been among the hardest hit by opioid consumption in the nation.

The two institutions held a news conference Wednesday to announce the partnership in support of the newly established Center for Prescription Drug Abuse and Treatment at the university, media outlets reported.

If approved, the Gray treatment center will combine counseling, group therapy and other social support services.

The holistic approach would set the clinic apart from other treatment centers that have attempted to gain a certificate of need from the state, Mountain States Health Alliance CEO Alan Levine said.

“We don’t think a fragmented approach works where you have one entity doing one part of the spectrum and another entity doing another part,” Levine said.

All revenue generated through the clinic will be invested back into the ETSU Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Levine said.

Tennessee ranks second in the nation for opioid consumption, with eastern Tennessee seeing the greatest amount of opioid consumption in the state. About 60,000 people across the state suffer from some kind of prescription narcotics dependence, officials said.

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