Recovering pain pill addict believes drug abuse plan could work

Recovering pain pill addict believes Gov. Haslam's drug abuse plan could work

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Webster Bailey has been clean and free from his addiction to prescription pills for about seven years. Webster Bailey has been clean and free from his addiction to prescription pills for about seven years.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

LOUISVILLE (WATE) - A new set of goals launching Tuesday by Governor Bill Haslam aims at tackling the problem of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee.

Strategies outlined include decreasing the amount of controlled substances prescribed, as well as more drug disposals.

Related story: Gov. Haslam announces 7-step prescription drug plan

Nearly 70,000 Tennesseans are estimated to abuse pain relievers each year. We caught up with a recovering addict who says this plan could work.

Webster Bailey has been clean and free from his addiction to prescription pills for about seven years.

"It was easier to hide when I was living in my professional career and going about my daily life. So I could use prescription medication and other people didn't recognize it," he said.

At the time, Bailey says he was buying medication from others saying he was too scared to go to the doctor for prescriptions. Years later he now works at Cornerstone Recovery.

"What I do hope is that I can make an impact in others lives and help others make some changes earlier in their life," said Bailey.

Tennessee is trying to help people addicted to prescription pain medication and Bailey says the Governor's goals make sense, though he does have concerns.

"With my own personal story my drug of choice changed based upon availability. So the pattern tells me that our enemy is not so much prescription drugs as it is the disease of addiction," he said.

Getting treatment was a struggle and took years for Bailey, trying methods on his own and in secret. But part of this new plan outlines increasing access to recovery services and getting early intervention.

"It makes sense that if we can get a good grasp and a good handle on treating this earlier, then we'll have a better quality of life for everyone involved," added Bailey.

Lawmakers believe this plan will cut down overdose deaths, emergency room visits and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes.
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