The Tennessean is reporting that the 8,000-resident Clay County dispenses more opioids than any other Tennessee county. In fact, the rate of 191.3 per 100 people is also more than three times the national average—enough to give every man, woman and child in Clay County a prescription, twice.
Dale Walker, president of the Tennessee Pastors Network (TNPN, www.tnpastors.net), preaches in Clay County and has seen firsthand the devastation of addiction. “It is heartbreaking how addictions have destroyed generations and families and the futures of good young men and women,” Walker said. “Many of our elected leaders are out of touch with those who are hurting in our rural society.”
Walker has also been outspoken about alcohol abuse in Tennessee and, namely, Sunday liquor sales. “The powerful liquor lobby every session gets expansion of wicked liquor and alcohol sales, which is a gateway drug to all addictions,” he said. “It is beyond despicable that in Tennessee senators and representatives from other districts can sponsor bills outside their districts for alcohol sales in areas they don’t even represent!” Walker added that it seems Republicans in the state are “addicted” to what brings in campaign donations.
“I am further disappointed that Tennessee has passed online sports gaming and that Gov. Bill Lee plans to allow this to become law,” Walker said. “This is just another poison to add to the full-blown crisis we have already in Tennessee. Churches, food pantries and help agencies will be stretched even further with gambling added to the mix. Online sports gambling will cause the implosion of many families financially.” Walker further stressed that Christian conservatives must rally around and pray for conservative elected officials that dare to differ with leadership and stand consistently and unwaveringly for Christian values in Tennessee.