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Anne Hazlett, senior adviser for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy visits campus on September 12, 2019 to discuss the current situation of the opioid crisis in Tennessee.
Anne Hazlett, senior adviser for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy sits next to the visited the UTK campus on September 12, 2019 to discuss the current situation of the opioid crisis in Tennessee. Photo by Steven Bridges/University of Tennessee.

Anne Hazlett, senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, visited the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Thursday to learn more about the challenges rural Tennessee counties face in the war against opioid abuse and other health issues.

During the visit, which was coordinated by UT College of Nursing, Hazlett also learned about research that UT faculty members are conducting on the impacts of drug abuse in law, health care, and economics.

Campbell County Mayor E. L. Morton and representatives from Jefferson, Sevier, and Scott counties also talked with Hazlett, sharing their experiences and focusing on finding solutions.

“I was encouraged to meet with community leaders who are taking action for the future of their communities. It is also helpful to know about the gaps in policy and funding we may be able to address at the federal level,” said Hazlett.

Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the UT College of Nursing, spoke about how the college has been building relationships with people who have been affected by the opioid abuse epidemic.

“We are working with county mayors, members of faith-based communities, health-care providers, people in recovery from addiction, nonprofit organizations, educators, and many people from the university. As part of a three-year federal grant, we will now be working with our community and university partners to find solutions that work for East Tennessee rural counties,” she said.

The White House adviser also had the opportunity to hear from the Choice Health Network Harm Reduction Program, a local initiative aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

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CONTACT:

Andrea Schneibel (865-974-3993, andrea.schneibel@utk.edu)