In more than two decades, drug overdose deaths are up more than 400 percent. Prescription addiction drives that trend.
On Wednesday, local leaders and state policy makers talked about how to reverse those numbers.
The Metropolitan Drug Commission hosted a legislative luncheon. Several state senators and representatives, along with city and county leaders joined in.
The focus was how regulation of prescription drugs can help ease the problem in East Tennessee. According to MDC, the Appalachian region has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country.
"We're hoping that they will look at the laws already in place, and some of the loopholes that exist, and strengthen those laws so that we can keep folks from doctor shopping and prevent some of the abuse and massive overdoses that we're seeing," said Heather Sutton with the MDC.
Tennessee lawmakers get back to work in Nashville at the start of the new year.