Knoxville chief reveals personal connection to opioid epidemic
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch testified before an opioid abuse taskforce in the Tennessee House Thursday, sharing his personal and professional views on the opioid epidemic.
Rausch started by discussing the way the Knoxville Police Department has changed how they investigate drug overdoses over the past several years, saying they now investigate overdoses "as we investigate murders."
"We started investigating every overdose as a homicide, a potential homicide," he said.
The chief also shared a personal story that drove him to tears.
Rausch told the panel of lawmakers he is helping raise his six-month-old granddaughter who was born drug dependent.
"Thank God for Children's Hospital," Rausch said.
Pill abuse crosses all segments of society, the chief said. He told lawmakers about having to arrest one of his own officers last year in connection to opioid abuse.
“This problem is everywhere so it’s not something that’s just a one certain population that we are trying to help here. This is every family, every community is seeing this issue," he said.
Rausch told the committee tough state laws governing pain clinics are working, but have a long way to go.