FDA finalizes new hydrocodone regulations

Deb_HeadshotOn August 22, 2014 the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a final ruling on rescheduling Vicodin, Lortab, Norco and generic hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to Schedule II. The Final Rule states, ” With the issuance of this final rule, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration reschedules hydrocodone combination products from schedule III to schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.”

Metropolitan Drug Commission sat down with WBIR last week to discuss the details of the new law going into effect in 44 days on October 6, 2014.


This is great news and puts more restrictions on the drug.  Essentially, Schedule II’s cannot be called into a pharmacy.  A patient must either have a written prescription or the doctor’s office can send the Rx electronically.  Patients cannot have automatic refills on schedule II’s-a new prescription has to be written every month.

Adderall and Ritalin are already schedule II, both used to treat ADD and ADHD. It will cause some inconvenience for those who have chronic conditions and are on long-term therapy. Not only will it prevent abuse and fraudulent prescription, but also provide greater safety and monitoring of these powerful narcotics.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of unintentional deaths in Tennessee. We hope that this will prevent overdoes and save lives through more frequent physician over site.

It’s important for everyone to know that the DEA has yet to publish guidance for physicians and pharmacies on how to handle remaining refills for hydrocodone combination products that have already been prescribed.

To see the full ruling, please visit Rescheduling of Hydrocodone Combination Products From Schedule III to Schedule II. 



Popping Pills: What do teens see in it?


poppingpills-nida_06 (1)


The questions still remain today: Why are teens using prescription drugs? What makes them want to use?

Well a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has broken it down for us. The misuse and abuse of prescription medications in the United States remains high, but few people are aware of just how big the problem really is. In its candy-coated hues, this infographic shares the pill popping reality of the situation, from the numbers of abusers to the places they obtain their drugs and their reasons for abusing. With this infographic, their goal was to use the casual spin usually associated with prescription drug abuse – it’s not abuse, it’s just popping pills – to emphasize its seriousness–that prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States today, one that demands our attention.

Here are the TOP 12 reasons why teens use prescription drugs.

  1. 62%: Easy to get from parent’s medicine cabinet
  2. 52%: Available Everywhere
  3. 51%: They are not illegal drugs
  4. 50%  Easy to get through other people’s prescriptions
  5. 49%: Can claim to have prescription if caught
  6. 43%: They are cheap
  7. 35%: Safer to sue than illegal drugs
  8. 33%: Less shame attached to using
  9. 32%: Easy to purchase over the internet
  10. 32%: Fewer side effects than street drugs
  11. 25%: Can be used as study aids
  12. 21%: Parents don’t care as much if caught


Robin Williams. An Icon. An Addict. A Person.


Yesterday, the world got a little less funny.

Robin Williams died Monday at the age of 63. Williams spent four decades making audiences laugh and cry. While he was comfortable in front of the camera, he was, at times, reluctant to talk about his past regarding his alcohol and substance abuse problems.

With this death it is bringing a new light onto depression and addiction. People are seeing that addiction does not discriminate. Williams had a talent the world always wanted more of, however he was suffering from a very serious disease. It is a progressive, lifelong and often fatal illness millions suffer with everyday.


Now that he’s gone, everyone is talking about the legacy he leaves. Will he be remembered as someone who “fell off the wagon”? Will his willpower be called into question? Or does his death reveal a more important truth about addition and depression?

People who deal with addiction and depression wear many different masks. They tend to hide the fact they have this issue and live life like everything is OK. If the media didn’t project Williams, a happy energetic soul from the outside, had depression and addiction issues, most people would not have thought twice about him being the way he was. I think this quote says it best.

I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.”

I hope that people remember the good of Robin Williams. The happiness he brought to each and every one of us and the smile he brought to our faces. Although he died tragically, everyone needs to remember addiction and depression are real and people need help.

If you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse, addiction or depression, visit our Get Help page to find treatment resources in the area or call (865) 588-5550 and ask for Stan Grubb.

School Stress Takes a Toll on Health, Teens and Parents Say



It’s that time again…with Knox County schools starting back next week, (Monday to be exact) the frenzy of back to school activities and assignments will surely start piling on. It is no question that being a student is stressful, but did you know that chronic stress can affect our health?

Parents, take a look at this blog post or click above to hear about school and stress from NPR news. The post discusses the different stresses experienced by students and how chronic stress can take a toll on our health.

Take an interest in your child’s schoolwork load this year and help them manage their stress in order to ensure a successful and enjoyable school year!

Sports and Drugs. Let’s break down the facts.

Deb_Headshot Strength, Energy and Endurance.

According to Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent, this is what athletes are trying to get when they use these performance enhancements drugs.

But in today’s youth, it’s becoming more and more common.

A new survey released by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids suggested that teen reports of performance enhancing drugs have more than doubled in the last year. Sponsored by the MetLife Foundation, the study reported that 11 percent of teens who were surveyed said they’d ever used steroids or synthetic human growth hormone without a prescription – a huge increase from the 5 percent in 2012.

Parents, it’s important for you to talk with your kids about the dangers of steroid use. Pressure on student athletes is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s fast pace sport world, so many think it’s what they have to do for a better success story in the end.

This is not the case. True champions don’t use drugs. Steroids don’t make you a super athlete.

To see the dangers and effects steroids can have on your teen, click on the infographic below.


New Law Causes Confusion

Karen PershingAre you confused about Tennessee’s new law regarding pregnancy and substance use?  You are not alone!  On July 1, 2014, a new law went into effect stating that a woman who gives birth to a baby, who is harmed by her illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, can result in assaultive offense charges.  If a pregnant woman enters into a treatment program and gets prenatal care, these positive actions can be used as an affirmative defense.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  If you have a legal background, maybe!  First of all, in the State of Tennessee, a baby is not considered a baby until the day of the birth; therefore, women who are pregnant and using drugs cannot be charged with a crime.  Once the baby is born and the baby has symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or other harm as a result of the Mother’s drug use, the mother could be charged with misdemeanor assault.

In recent conversations with service providers, I was informed that both service providers as well as pregnant women with addiction issues are confused and think that if they are not “clean” at the time they access prenatal care that they will be arrested.  This is NOT true and should be corrected as soon as possible.  Medical professionals who are providing care are NOT required to report the drug use of a pregnant woman.  Again, that baby is not defined as a baby until the day the child is born.

Once the baby is born and the hospital confirms drug use of the mother and that harm to the baby has occurred as a result, the birthing facility is required to file a report with the Department of Children’s Services, who then opens a case and notifies local law enforcement.  If the birth mother can document that she is actively engaged in a treatment program AND received prenatal care, charges will NOT be filed.  If she cannot produce verification that she is in a treatment program, misdemeanor charges will then be filed and the Mother arrested.

It is critical for both the health of the mother and the baby to receive prenatal care as early in the pregnancy as possible.  For a woman struggling with the disease of addiction, this is even more paramount.  There have already been some women who have reported buying Methadone off the street and trying to detoxify themselves prior to seeking medical care.  This can be very dangerous for both the mother and the baby.  Detoxification of pregnant women should be medically managed and the tapering process should be gradual.

It is up to all of us to spread the word and make sure we are not making an already difficult situation worse for fear of criminal charges.  This law was put in place to encourage women to access treatment for their addiction and deliver the healthiest baby possible.

Note:  This law has a sunset provision and will expire on June 30, 2016.

Modern World Stress and Drinking

The following is a guest post by Saint Jude Retreats, an alternative to traditional substance use treatment. Saint Jude Retreats provides a program for people with substance use problems that concentrate on self-directed positive and permanent change. Through the program, we offer the opportunity for individuals to self-evaluate and explore avenues for life enhancement.



Stress. We all have in one form or another and we always will.  It’s just a part of life.  In the pioneer days, stress was much different than the stress we experience in the modern world.  For example, drought was a huge stress factor for the Jamestown colonists in the 1600’s.  It caused famine, poor water quality, hostility, disease, and even death.  While today, with all of our modern conveniences, we still have stress, albeit a different kind of stress. Some are stressed financially or maybe their job causes stress, and some people’s family lives causes them stress. Still, many of us will turn to alcohol to relieve stress.  But, does it? Do those who turn to alcohol to relieve stress actually accomplish the intended result?

More often than not, drinking to relieve stress doesn’t always have the desired outcome and is a very dangerous choice.  In fact, in many cases, the negative consequences associated with habitual or excessive drinking only adds to or amplifies the level of stress for people in these modern times.  People experience DUI, anger their family members, lose jobs and feel guilty when they turn to the bottle to relieve stress.  Certainly, there are strategies and other alternatives different than turning to alcohol that we can implement into our modern lives that can actually relieve stress.

  • Exercise:  Regular exercise helps us release tension and promotes an overall feeling of well being.  Exercise also releases endorphins which makes us feel happy and reduces the stress hormone, cortisol.  There are so many options when it comes to exercising such as hiking, walking, running, jogging, weight training, group fitness classes, yoga, dancing, boxing or karate.  Next time our modern life’s little annoyances and frustrations start to build up, take your mind off of it for a while with some exercise.
  • Hobbies:  Every now and then, it’s a good idea to “check out” and distract yourself from the things in your environment that are stressing you out.  A hobby can be a great way to accomplish this.  Drawing, painting and gardening are some good examples of activities that can relax your mind and are enjoyable things to do.  Even cleaning or organizing can help you to change your thoughts for a while and gives you the sense that you’ve accomplished something as well.  If you make time on a regular base for your hobbies and interest you will feel more balanced and less stressed.
  • Pampering Yourself:  Our modern lives are oftentimes very busy and taking care of yourself on a regular bases helps to manage stress.  Sometimes a massage or pedicure is all you need to lift your spirits, feel rejuvenated and more emotionally stable.  Massage also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and boosts the neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.  Massage alleviates pain and lessens anxiety and depression.  If your schedule does not allow you to take some time to get a massage, purchase a massage chair for your home.  This way, you can put on some calming, soothing music, sit back and relax.
  • Positive Attitude:  Stress is subjective.  What stresses one person out, does not stress another.  Much of what we perceive as being stressful is due to our own negative thought process.  Always focusing on the negatives causes fear and anxiety.  In every situation, there are positive aspects we can focus on.  Training our minds to focus on the positive helps to have a positive outlook and attitude, which in turn be a less stressful way to live.

So, the next time your modern life is causing you stress, take a deep breath and remember these strategies before you go to the bar, the liquor cabinet or open a bottle of wine.

Why not do something that will promote and enhance your happiness and relieve stress in a positive way?

For more information on Saint Jude Retreats, please visit their website at http://www.soberforever.net/.

How do you Boat Safe?

Summer, boats and alcohol.

For many, the activities seem to be interrelated. But for people who abuse alcohol on the water the consequences can be deadly.

Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated and just as illegal. Operating a boat while impaired not only endangers the lives of you and your passengers, but also endangers every other user of the waterway around you.

It is unlawful to operate any sail or powered vessel while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs. Here are some important facts to consider.

In the state of Tennessee Conviction for operating under the influence will result in fines of up to $2,500 on the first offense, $2,500 on the second offense and $5,000 for the third offense. A jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days may also be imposed for any conviction and operating privileges may be suspended from one to ten years. Additional federal penalties may also be assessed.

If you choose to drink and boat, make sure you have a designated captain. Make sure to require your passengers to wear life jackets be mindful the law.

Practice Safe Boating

Select Colleges to Sell Beer/Wine in Stadiums to Boost Revenue

Deb_HeadshotSome colleges will begin to sell beer and wine in their on-campus stadiums to boost revenue.

Right now, UT will NOT sell alcohol in Neyland Stadium.

West Virginia implemented beer sales at football games in 2011, generating upward of $500,000 in new revenue while seeing fewer incidents of rowdy fan behavior related to binge-drinking outside the stadium. Minnesota sold beer and wine at TCF Bank Stadium as part of a two-year pilot program beginning in 2012 and reported a $181,678 profit last season.

Although this may be boosting sales revenue for University athletic departments, it also is an issue for underage drinking.

At SMU, Southern Methodist University, if a 21-or-older student enters the venue, they get a wristband with three pull-tabs, and one is torn off for each beer they buy. Non-students are limited to one beverage per ID, per trip to the concession stand.

Even with limiting the drinks per band, students and adults that attend these games could potentially give the alcohol to minors. Universities will need to hire more security for each section to keep an eye on this problem.

To see more information on this topic, head over to WBIR  for the full story.wbir_logo

Regional Medication Collection Event!

Deb_HeadshotMDC will be having a Regional Medication Collection Event on Saturday, June 21 from 9:00 a.m.to 11:00 a.m.

Please stop by and bring any unused or expired medications! Check out the flyer below for more information. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 865-588-5550.

Full page flyer.indd