Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. presented a comprehensive strategy today to address the growing opioid addiction crisis in Shelby County.
City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Director of the Shelby County Health Department, Shelby County Attorney Kathryn Pascover and Shelby County Government Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kim Denbow, joined Mayor Luttrell at a news briefing this morning.
“The growing problem of opioid addiction has touched countless families throughout Shelby County. For the past several months, the Shelby County Health Department has led a workgroup about this issue. The availability of dangerous drugs on the street such as heroin, often laced with other more-potent drugs, coupled with cases involving the over-prescribing of pain medicines, have led to an alarming number of overdose deaths and hospitalizations throughout our county,” said Mayor Luttrell.
Nationwide, health professionals say opioid addition kills about 90 people every day. “It’s vital we take an aggressive role here locally to warn people about the dangers of these powerful drugs. Our team has created special educational sessions for neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations and civic clubs,” said Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter. “Our goal is to ensure people know the warning signs and seek help,” added Dr. Haushalter. Citizens can call (901) 222-9000 or go to www.shelbytnhealth.com to schedule an opioid education session.
Besides the community education sessions, Shelby County Government is providing opioid education sessions for employees to help improve health outcomes for Shelby County Government employees and their families.
“Through a partnership between the Shelby County Human Resources Division and some of our contracted health providers, we have developed a guide for our employees to guard against opioid addiction,” said Kim Denbow, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Shelby County Government. “We’re also monitoring the prescription patterns of physicians and dentists. Additionally, we are reviewing all on-the-job injuries for any possible link to opioid abuse,” added Ms. Denbow.