Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

District Attorney General releases annual fatal overdose report on Overdose Awareness Day

Posted: 08/31/2020Feature Photo

Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen released the 2019 Fatal Overdose Victims and Criminal Justice System on Overdose Awareness Day.

The annual report presents interactions between overdose victims and the criminal justice system by analyzing data gathered by the Drug Related Death Task Force. The task force is a multi-agency investigation and prosecution team who examines overdoses that occur in Knox County as a means to combat the opiate epidemic.

Founded under the direction of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA), the task force consists of the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office, Knox County Regional Forensic Center, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and other regional law enforcement agencies. The goal of the task force is to decrease overdoses by holding drug dealers accountable when their drug trafficking leads to overdose deaths.

This partnership not only strengthened law enforcement’s ability to stop dangerous drug traffickers from operating in our community but also created new avenues to gather, share, and analyze data. For the past four years, data analyzed by the District Attorney’s Office has revealed connections between individuals who overdose and the criminal justice system. This data has consistently demonstrated an opportunity for prevention, intervention, and treatment either within or in step with the criminal justice system. This data has also helped other agencies in our community obtain additional resources to fight this epidemic.

“Community collaboration has helped reduce the number of overdose deaths in our community. However, as we are seeing through the current public health pandemic, our work is not done. The criminal justice system was not designed to address the root issues of addiction. Success in preventing overdose deaths requires a multi-prong approach, and we invite the community to use this report to inform a comprehensive plan,” shares District Attorney General Allen.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or sean.mcdermott@knoxcounty.org. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at www.knoxcounty.org/dag and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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