TN Tech, Power of Putnam receive $60,000 grant for opioid diversion awareness

(UCBJ Photo/Michelle Price)

AmerisourceBergen Foundation funds launch of opioid diversion awareness and prevention project within the Putnam County animal care community

COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech and Power of Putnam recently announced that they received a $60,000 collaborative grant from the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization focused on supporting health-related causes that enrich the global community as part of its Opioid Resource Grant Program.

The grant will enable Tennessee Tech and Power of Putnam to bring the resources of the university and the community substance abuse prevention coalition together in a focused effort to deter people from abusing controlled substances prescribed for animals. 

Power of Putnam Director Bill Gibson said, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Dr. Steven Seiler and a very dedicated team at Tennessee Tech, as well as the many concerned veterinary professionals serving this area, to address the very dangerous situation that arises when individuals consume medications that were prescribed and intended for animal use only.”   

Dr. Steven Seiler added, “The same opioids used for treating pain in humans are commonly prescribed by veterinarians for treating pain in animals. Over the past five years, numerous news reports from around the country describe incidences of people using animals to get prescription opioids and, in fact, veterinarian shopping for opioids. In 2018, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged the increasing trend of people seeking opioids through veterinarians and provided recommended guidelines for veterinarians. We are pleased to join forces with Power of Putnam to bring greater awareness to this problem and implement effective solutions in partnership with our local veterinary offices.” 

Some highlights of the project will include:

  • Offering a two-hour online Continuing Education (CE) course for veterinary technicians in the state of Tennessee, beginning August 3, 2020, entitled, “Controlled Substance Diversion in Veterinary Medicine: Policy, Strategy, & Ethics,” which was recently approved by the State of Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. 
  • Distributing warning stickers for medication bottles and patient pamphlets to place in waiting areas at veterinary practices and pharmacies in Putnam and surrounding counties. 
  • Providing veterinarian offices in Putnam County with lockboxes to distribute for safe in home medicine storage and additional permanent disposal boxes for unused animal (and human) prescriptions. 
  • Partnering with local veterinary offices to understand the extent of issues with human abuse of animal prescription medicines.

“The opioid epidemic is a complex, multi-faceted issue, and collaboration from all parties across the supply chain, on both a local and national level, is essential to drive sustained change,” said Gina Clark, president of the AmerisourceBergen Foundation. “In alliance with Tennessee Tech and Power of Putnam we hope to positively impact the lives of those in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee through remaining steadfast in our commitment to providing the communities where we live and work with the critical resources needed to help combat the epidemic of opioid misuse.” 

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation identified and developed comprehensive opioid misuse and abuse initiatives, including the Opioid Resource Grant Program and the Safe Disposal Support Program, to redefine best practices and advance innovative ideas from nonprofits with the goal of improving the wellbeing of communities around the world. Since its establishment, the Opioid Resource Grant program has garnered significant interest from hundreds of nonprofit and grant-funded organizations seeking support to broaden current efforts toward curbing opioid abuse.

Power of Putnam (PoP) is a coalition of community agencies and individuals who are concerned about the issue of substance misuse in Putnam County. Power of Putnam seeks to unite the community in the implementation of research based environmental prevention strategies to prevent and lessen the progression of substance misuse. Founded in 2003 by citizens of Putnam County, PoP has engaged in countless substance abuse education and prevention strategies. For more information and to get involved in this life saving effort visit

Tennessee Tech University (TTU) is a public, state university founded in 1915 with over 10,000 students. Of those students, 91% are from Tennessee with approximately 40% being from counties in the Upper Cumberland area. Additionally, TTU has a pre-veterinarian program, an active student organization focused on reducing substance misuse disorder, including addiction to opioids and prescription pain medications (Addiction and Recovery Awareness @ TTU) as well as organizations focusing on service within the animal care industry and fields.

About the AmerisourceBergen Foundation       

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation is an independent not-for-profit charitable giving organization established by AmerisourceBergen Corporation to support health-related causes that enrich that global community. The Foundation aims to improve the health and well-being of its patient populations – both human and animal – by investing in its communities. Through strategic partnerships and community collaboration, the Foundation works to expand access to quality healthcare and provide resources to ensure prescription drug safety. For more information, visit

Submit your story ideas to the Upper Cumberland Business Journal! via email.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.