- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennova Healthcare will no longer offer long-term opiate medication prescriptions to patients at its pain clinics.

Patients of the centers, affiliated with Tennova’s Physicians Regional and Turkey Creek medical centers, have been given letters as they come in for appointments, informing them of the change, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/26rosN3).

The letter said other non-opiate alternatives will be offered instead.

The anesthesiologists at the clinics decided to make the change in response to changing regulations and increasing national opiate addiction rates, said Health care system spokesman Jerry Askew.

“Tennova Pain Management Center is committed to providing pain management services responsibly and safely,” Askew said.

He said they began notifying physicians and patients of the change in April.

The decision comes just as the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services issued a statement citing the success of the state’s efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse.

“We are succeeding in reducing the number of prescriptions being written,” said Douglas Varney, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “We have helped more people into treatment and recovery and rallied a new generation of Tennesseans to live a life free of addiction.”

Tennova is directing patients who wish to discontinue treatment at the centers to the Tennessee Department of Health website, which offers a list of health care facilities.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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