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Tennessee’s 9th District Forms Drug Overdose Task Force

LOUDON COUNTY (WATE) – Another district in Tennessee formed a special drug task force and it got the idea from Knox County.

The district attorney’s office, law enforcement and other agencies in the 9th district will work together to prosecute people supplying the drugs that are killing people. The 9th district covers four counties: Loudon, Roane, Morgan and Meigs.

“We want them to know we’re focused on them and we are targeting them,” said District Attorney Russell Johnson.

Johnson said his district has formed an overdose task force to find the suppliers and charge them with second-degree murder. His office will work closely with the sheriff’s departments in those counties.

He said when an overdose occurs, there will be more manpower present and the different agencies will treat it as a crime scene.

“Work together, get training on how to better investigate these type of situations so we can ultimately get back to the person or persons supplying the drugs,” said Johnson.

The overdose task force is currently looking into two overdoses, one in Philadelphia and another in Lenoir City.

The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the overdose in Philadelphia. Sheriff Tim Guider said they have arrested up to 10 people in drug activity in a particular home there.

Johnson said in Roane County, there were 32 overdose deaths in 2016 and 21 so far in 2017.

“A lot of time, people bringing drugs to Loudon and Roane County are going to Knox County and Knoxville to get those drugs,” he said.

Johnson said they are always working to get users in treatment. Instead of putting users in jail, they are trying to help them through efforts in drug court.

Law enforcement is also equipped with the life-saving drug called Naloxone to reverse the effects of an overdose.

Johnson said it does not need additional funding for this group at this time.

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