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Thursday, February 23rd

From the Tennova Healthcare Cleveland News Desk, here are your news headlines for Thursday, February 23rd, on Mix 104-1 and Talk 101-3 The Buzz.

In the news today…

Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) recently created a task force on opioid and prescription drug abuse, and appointed Representative Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) to serve on the panel. The task force’s immediate goal will be to work on legislation, but its efforts will be ongoing to determine the best strategies for tackling the opioid epidemic. Tennessee is consistently ranked at the top of the charts nationally with regards to prescription drug abuse.

In 2015, 1,451 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses, the highest annual number in the state’s history. In addition, the number of babies born who have been chronically exposed to opioids is high, particularly in East Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health reports that from 2000 to 2012, the rate of babies born with exposure increased 15 fold.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that prescription opioid abuse has a total economic burden of $78.5 billion per year in the United States. There is an estimated $7.7 billion criminal justice cost across the country.

“This task force presents an opportunity to have a very serious conversation about opioid and prescription drug abuse in our state.   I’m honored Speaker Harwell has placed her trust in me to work with my colleagues to find a solution to this devastating epidemic we face in Tennessee,” concluded Rep. Brooks.

From the Cleveland Daily Banner…

County Commissioners decided to table a resolution which would have opposed Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Improve Act,” increasing the state’s fuel taxes.

The move came despite a consensus among the group against any tax increases.

According to the “Improve Tax” legislation, there would be a tax increase of 7 cents per gallon of regular gas, and 12 cents per gallon of diesel. Car registration would increase by $5 for the average passenger vehicle registered in the state.

Several in the audience voiced their opposition to the act, carrying signs that mentioned their feelings against the “Improve Act.”

All commissioners with the exception of Mark Hall were present at Tuesday’s meeting. The Commission did not meet as regular on Monday to celebrate Presidents Day.

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press…

A contracted school bus driver was fired last week after it was discovered he used his cellphone while driving.

Brian Smith was fired from his position on Feb. 16, according to Amy Katcher, spokeswoman for Hamilton County Department of Education. She could not immediately say how long he had been transporting students in Hamilton County.

“There were complaints filed against him and they conducted an investigation while he was on a suspension and at the end of the investigation they terminated him,” Katcher said.

This has been your local and state news. You can get news anytime by visiting our website, mymix1041.com, powered by Pioneer Credit. From the Tennova Healthcare Cleveland News Desk, this is Jeremy Gault reporting.