District Attorney Charme Allen releases 2017 report on overdose victims and the criminal justice systemPosted: 11/30/2018
The District Attorney’s report provides a breakdown of the outcomes from its partnership with the Drug Related Death Task Force. The DRDTF has made unprecedented strides in combating the supply of drugs in our community since the formation of the task force in 2017.
The task force initiated a concerted effort for law enforcement and other community agencies to treat overdose deaths as criminal investigations. By collectively reviewing and investigating drug-related deaths, a significant amount of drug-related crime which otherwise would have fallen through the cracks is being detected and is resulting in successful prosecution.
The 2017 report also builds off of the District Attorney’s 2016 report which details connections between individuals who fatally overdosed and interacted with the criminal justice system prior to their death. In 2017, the percentage of total fatal overdose victims who had a Knox County arrest record in the five years prior to death remained the same but the proportion of people who died and were recently released from jail is increasing.
The 2017 report can be found at https://knoxcounty.org/dag/statistics/death_by_od.php.
“The task force has been extremely successful from a law enforcement perspective in dealing with the supply of drugs in our community. As part of my approach to be tough on crime and smart on prevention, my office will continue to collaborate with community partners well-positioned to address and reduce the demand for drugs. Together, we can keep Knox County safe and reclaim lives not yet lost through prevention, treatment, and law enforcement measures.”
The Drug Related 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, and United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The goal of the task force is to decrease overdoses by holding drug dealers accountable when their drug trafficking leads to overdose deaths. The task force also gains intelligence about the opiate epidemic that can be used by member agencies and others across the country to fight this increasing problem.