Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is the capital and most-populated city in Tennessee, with 691,243 residents in the consolidated county-city. What is known locally as “The Mid-State” is home to over 1.9 million Tennesseans across 13 counties. The city is the core of Tennessee’s largest metropolitan area, home to numerous large colleges and universities, and a global center for country music.

As such, the city has its fair share of substance abuse-related problems. Unsurprisingly, the most commonly abused addictive substance in Nashville is alcohol. Fortunately, though, there are several rehab and treatment facilities that provide various services to help free those suffering from abuse and addiction.

Nashville and Alcohol Consumption

The relationship between country music, alcohol, and addiction is undeniable. According to one study conducted in 2015, Nashville is Tennessee’s drunkest city with 13.5% of adults reporting habits of binge drinking (4 or more beverages for women, 5 or more for men within a 2 hour period). 1 in 5 Tennessee youth start drinking before turning 13 years old. 20% of fatal car wrecks in the Volunteer State are alcohol-related; furthermore, law enforcement arrested over 46,000 people for alcohol-related crime in 2015.

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The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect On Music City

Nashville forms part of a cluster of Appalachian cities hit hard by the Opioid Epidemic. Officials publicly recognized the health crisis in 2012 during efforts to employ a prescription drug monitoring program that would cut down on “doctor shopping.” Still, in 2015, pharmacies dispensed 18.2 million prescription narcotics. The most common prescription Opioids included Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and Tramadol (Ultram). Tennessee ranks 3rd in the nation for prescription drug abuse. Of the total population, 5% abused painkillers in 2017. However, the total number of prescriptions has since begun to decline.

Conversely, rates of Heroin addiction and abuse have increased as people with Opioid dependencies switch to cheaper, more available alternatives. As total prescription Opioid numbers and overdose rates decline, Heroin-related deaths spiked. Between 2009 and 2014, heroin-related deaths increased sevenfold. The presence of Fentanyl (a synthetic Opioid at least 50 times more powerful) as a cutting agent in Heroin, makes the situation even more deadly.

Subsequently, over 105 people in Nashville fatally overdosed due to Fentanyl in 2017; the drug had been unheard of in Music City only a few years prior. Additionally, the area experienced an outbreak of Hepatitis A due to injection drug use of Heroin starting in 2017.

Drug Addiction Statistics For Nashville


pill busts

In 2017, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation busted 12 counterfeit pill operations.



Fentanyl-related deaths jumped 250% in Nashville between 2014 and 2015.



In 2015, 1,039 newborns in  Tennessee exhibited clinical signs of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) as a result of exposure to opioids in the womb.

Addiction Treatment In Nashville

Nashville’s addiction treatment options are designed to treat a variety of substance use disorders and levels of severity of addiction. The Tennessee REDLINE is a 24-7 referral service for residents to receive alcohol and drug rehab information. Also, Tennesseans can attend multiple screening and referral service centers in Nashville (and across the state). Typically, these services are free or based on need.

The Tennessee Adult Substance Abuse Treatment program provides a way for adults with an addiction or co-occurring disorders to seek recovery. Rehab services include:

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If you’re ready to start your journey to sobriety and wellness, talk to a treatment provider now. They can provide information about your therapy options, recovery center locations across the country, and how to make the cost of rehab affordable.

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Destiny Bezrutczyk

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  • Destiny Bezrutczyk is a Digital Content Writer from west Iowa. She earned a Bachelor’s in English Language and Literature from Texas Tech University. After working as a freelance script and blog writer, she began writing content for tech startups. Maintaining a passion for words, she took on a variety of projects where her writing could help people (especially those battling mental health and substance use disorders).

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