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Sullivan Co. Designated as Member of Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Sullivan County was recognized on Thursday as the newest county in the region to become a member of the Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which gives federal resources to members to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking.

According to a federal news release, the Appalachia HIDTA uses a “multi-disciplinary approach to deal with the ongoing threats to public health and safety, particularly as it regards prescription drug diversion, the emerging threat of heroin, as well as the continued threats of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and synthetic drugs.”

“Sullivan County’s designation as an Appalachia HIDTA county will allow resources for the critical fight against opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, as well as other illegal substances that drug dealers are bringing into our communities every day,” U.S. Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr said. “Appalachia HIDTA and the Rocky Top Task Force are national award winning programs that are making an impact against the spread of illegal drugs in eastern Tennessee. The District Attorney’s Office and Sullivan County law enforcement agencies have shown the initiative and ability to use these HIDTA resources to stop the ravaging effects of opioid addiction in our Appalachian area. We salute their past efforts and look forward to their success in the future.”

So far, in the Eastern District of the state, the HIDTA funds DEA and FBI led drug task forces in Johnson City, Knoxville and Chattanooga, as well as other initiatives to reduce drug crime.

“Having Sullivan County designated as a member of HIDTA has been an important goal of this office since my becoming the District Attorney General in 2011,” District Attorney General Barry Staubus said. “HIDTA can assist my office, and local law enforcement agencies, in investigating and prosecuting serious drug trafficking by providing much needed federal resources to combat our methamphetamine and opioid epidemic as well as the sale and distribution of cocaine and marijuana.”

Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson said that the sheriff’s office is “very excited to receive this designation. This will go a long way in our fight against illegal drugs in Sullivan County.”

A report released Thursday on health care in Appalachia sheds more light on the opioid addiction crisis plaguing our region.

The report shows deaths by poisoning, which includes drug overdoses, are 37% higher in the Appalachian Mountains than across the rest of the country.

In the United States each day, about 142 people die from drug overdoses

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency and pledge to add more resources for treatment.

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