Former Mayor Speaks on Opioid Crisis
On February 6, 2019, Mark Luttrell -- former Shelby County mayor, former Shelby County sheriff and longtime Shelby County Republican leader -- spoke to the Republican Women of Purpose (TN) on the opioid crisis, the most profound public health issue in Tennessee. Five TN counties have their own county run health department. The other 90 counties are run by the state health department. When Mayor Luttrell became aware that the Shelby County Health Department focused on infectious diseases, he implemented plans to:
- Build a data processing system to collect the number of deaths as a result of opioids and track statictics.
- Educate the community concerning the magnitude of the opioid problem, stressing prevention and addiction treatment.
- Train first responders to deal with the opioid problem.
- Develop relationships with hospitals to track drug overdoses and build treatment options.
- Implement extensive sheriff training and aggressively prosecute drug dealers.
Today opioid prescriptions are tightly controlled. However, in January 2019, 16 people died in TN alone. The 34 age bracket has the highest percentage of opioid victims, per the Center for Disease Control. Fentanyl is the worst problem of all, with only a few grains needed to kill someone.