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Drug-Related Deaths up 41 Percent in Knox, Anderson Counties

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A new report from the Knox County Regional Forensic Center shows a 41 percent increase in drug-related deaths in Knox and Anderson County from 2016 to 2017.

“The 2017 data shows an alarming, continuing upward trend in drug deaths in Knox and Anderson Counties,” said John Lott, Senior Director of the Knox County Regional Forensic Center. “In addition, we have seen some demographic shifts and the introduction of more illicit drugs such as Fentanyl and its analogues.”

According to the report, the 45-54 year age group had the highest number of drug-related deaths. In addition, more than multiple drugs were involved in 60 percent of drug-related deaths in 2017.

Fentanyl and similar drugs were the most frequently found drug in 2017 drug-related deaths, increasing 179 percent from 2016.

In 2017, the number of African Americans who died of drug-related causes surged 113 percent in the two counties as compared to 2016.

“Unfortunately, the drug epidemic in our community continues to spiral out of control,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “While our law enforcement and other agencies are tireless in their efforts to address this issue, it’s apparent that a community-wide approach is necessary if we are to stop this disturbing trend. Hopefully, the info presented in this report can help initiate a larger conversation that leads to a definitive plan of action to stop the growing drug problem.”

The report notes that fentanyl and similar drugs continue to be the most frequently found drug in drug-related deaths.

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