KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Knox County District Attorney General's Office released the latest numbers of fatal overdoses for 2018.
According to the report, 325 people died in Knox County due to an overdose in 2018. The number of overdoses countywide has increased by 3.2 percent from 2017 to 2018, which was significantly less than the 41 percent increase from 2016 to 2017.
The DA's office said lethal drugs, like Fentanyl, continue to be the most frequently found drug in drug-related deaths.
The top four drugs found through autopsies in Knox County:
- Fentanyl & Analogues
For the full report, visit the Knox County Regional Forensic Center’s website.
The total number of fatal overdose cases reviewed by the District Attorney General’s Office and the Drug-Related Death Task Force in 2018 is 294. (This number excludes fatal overdose cases if the cause of death is alcohol intoxication or suicide, or if the incident originated from outside of Knox County.)
Statistics showed more than half of people who fatally overdosed had an arrest record in the five years before their death, a 9 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
The data also revealed that not only did the number of fatal overdoses increase in Knox County in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the proportion of those who were recently released from jail also continued to increase.
In 2018, 30 percent of those who died were released from jail sometime in the year before their death, according to the data. In 2017 and 2018, nearly half of those individuals had a most recent jail stay of seven days or less, indicating that many people who fatally overdose and are involved in the criminal justice system have short-term jail stays.
The DA's office said the high number of people who fatally overdosed and have recent interactions with law enforcement suggests an opportunity for intervention.
Intervening through or within the justice system is a proven, cost-effective method of reducing recidivism rates and increasing recovery rates for individuals with substance use disorders, and as this report continues to suggest, it can save lives, according to the DA's office.
To find the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office previous reports, visit knoxcounty.org/dag.