Updated on May 20, 2024
3 min read

Updated Drug and Alcohol Statistics for Tennessee

Tennessee is grappling with a severe drug and alcohol abuse crisis, with the state experiencing high rates of opioid overdose deaths, excessive alcohol use, and youth substance use. This article presents an overview of the current state of drug and alcohol use in Tennessee, highlighting alarming statistics on the opioid epidemic, alcohol-related issues, and the challenges in providing adequate treatment and recovery services.

  • In 2022, there were 2,089 overdose fatalities in Tennessee, steadily increasing over the past five years.1
  • Tennessee ranks third in the country for prescription drug abuse.2
  • Excessive drinking results in 2,064 deaths and 63,058 years of potential life lost each year in Tennessee.3

Substance Use and Disorders

Tennessee is facing a growing opioid crisis, with alarming increases in overdose deaths and fentanyl-related incidents.

  • In 2022, there were 2,089 overdose fatalities in Tennessee, steadily increasing over the past five years.1
  • The rate of fentanyl overdoses increased substantially, from 11.6 per 100,000 residents in 2018 to 16.8 per 100,000 residents in 2019 (a 44.8% increase).1
  • Tennessee has a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to prevent overprescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines.4
tennessee chart 1

Alcohol Use and Related Issues

Alcohol use, particularly excessive drinking and binge drinking, is a significant concern in Tennessee.

  • Excessive alcohol use cost Tennessee $4.1 billion, or $2.09 per drink, in 2010.3
  • 18.3% of adults and 10.0% of high school students reported binge drinking in 2011.3
  • Excessive drinking results in 2,064 deaths and 63,058 years of potential life lost each year in Tennessee.3
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Youth Substance Use

While there have been some declines in youth substance use, it remains a pressing issue in Tennessee.

  • Alcohol use declined from 14% to 10%, and misuse of pain relievers dropped from 9% to 5% among youth.5

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Additional Statistics

Other substance use trends and challenges in Tennessee include:

  • Approximately 800 methamphetamine labs operate at any given time in Tennessee.6
  • Heroin use is on the rise in Tennessee, with heroin sometimes laced with fentanyl.7
  • Tennessee ranks third in the country for prescription drug abuse.2
  • In 2019, there were 16,670 nonfatal overdose visits to outpatient facilities and 7,240 non-fatal overdose inpatient stays.2
  • In 2020, there were 3,032 total drug overdose deaths.2

Overdose Death Prevention

Tennessee has implemented various initiatives to address the opioid crisis and prevent overdose deaths.

  • TN Together is a comprehensive plan to address the opioid crisis in Tennessee, including prevention, treatment, and law enforcement initiatives.8
  • The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) provides naloxone to agents and forensic scientists who may come into contact with fentanyl.7

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Drug Overdose Deaths

Drug overdose deaths, particularly those involving fentanyl, continue to be a major concern in Tennessee.

  • In Q4 2022, there were 198 suspected drug overdose deaths in Davidson County.9
  • Fentanyl was detected in approximately 79% of overdose-related toxicology reports in Q4 2022.9
tennessee chart 2

Alcohol-Related Issues

Alcohol-related deaths and excessive consumption are significant issues in Tennessee.

  • Excessive drinking results in 2,064 deaths and 63,058 years of potential life lost each year in Tennessee.3
  • The alcohol consumption per person aged ≥14 was 2.3 gallons.10

The statistics presented in this article paint a grim picture of the drug and alcohol abuse crisis in Tennessee. From the alarming increase in opioid overdose deaths to the devastating impact of excessive alcohol use and the challenges posed by youth substance use, it is clear that urgent action is needed to address these issues. By investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery services, and promoting collaboration among community stakeholders, Tennessee can work towards supporting those struggling with addiction and creating a healthier future for all its residents.

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Updated on May 20, 2024
10 sources cited
Updated on May 20, 2024
  1. "Tennessee Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Statistics." JourneyPure, n.d.
  2. "Tennessee Substance Abuse Statistics." Lakeview Health, n.d.
  3. "Excessive Alcohol Use in Tennessee." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013.
  4. "Opioid Use in Tennessee." Vanderbilt University Medical Center, n.d.
  5. "Youth Substance Use Declining in Tennessee." Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 2017.
  6. "Drug Rate in Tennessee." Cumberland Heights, n.d.
  7. "Drugs." Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, n.d.
  8. "Addressing the Opioid Crisis in TN." Tennessee Tech University, n.d.
  9. "Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee Suspected Overdose Response Update Q4 2022." Nashville.gov, 2023.
  10. "Apparent Per Capita Alcohol Consumption: National, State, and Regional Trends, 1977-2002." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2004.

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