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Tennessee is number-one in the nation in a category that you wouldn't want to brag about. The Safe Tennessee Project says the state led the country in the number of accidental shooting deaths in 2014. The Project says there were 105 fatalities, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were only 19 accidental shooting deaths the year before. The big increase spanned all age groups.
Threatened with the loss of a lot of money, Tennessee lawmakers have repealed the state's underage drinking law. It went into effect in July and increased the penalties for 18-to 20-year-olds driving under the influence, but also raised the minimum allowable blood alcohol content from 0.02 percent to 0.08 percent. That put Tennessee in a position to lose 60 million dollars in federal road funding on October 1st. Wednesday's votes in favor of repealing the law: 31 to 1 in the Senate and 85 to 2 in the House.
A man charged in Putnam County with the murder of Johnny Cash's great niece is taking a plea deal. 23-year-old Courtney Cash was stabbed to death in her home in Baxter in April of 2014. Cash's boyfriend was also wounded in the attack. Wayne Masciarella pleaded guilty to second degree murder Tuesday. Masciarella was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death in Tennessee. Now, thanks to a new law, the state has a powerful new tool to fight opioid overdose. Authorized pharmacists are allowed to dispense naloxone to a person at risk of opioid overdose or to a family member, friend or other person to assist someone at risk of an opiate-related overdose. According to Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, administering naloxone can prevent death in many overdoses by reversing the life-threatening effects of opioids almost immediately, allowing time, for the person to reach further medical treatment.
New figures are out on bullying in Tennessee schools. The state Department of Education tracks reports of bullying in every school system in Tennessee. According to the latest data from the 2013/2014 school year, the total number of cases reported state-wide was 10-thousand-160. That included 101 cases of bullying in Cumberland County schools.