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Two East TN counties report higher number of drug arrests so far this year

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said they arrested around 15% more people for drug crimes compared to last year. KCSO said they have seen a similar trends.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said so far this year, they have arrested around 15% more people for drug crimes. The Knox County Sheriff's Office said they have seen a similar trend.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said they expanded their narcotics task force in July, and since then the number started rising.

"We're doing everything we can to bust these people and slow down the problem," said Dalton Rinehart, a detective with MCSO. "We've seen an uptick in arrests and seizures since then."

He also said that most crimes in the area have an element of drugs behind them. They can involve selling drugs, using drugs, or even making drugs.

Thursday night, the Madisonville Police Department and MCSO said they found more than five ounces of heroin during a traffic stop. After testing the drugs, they said they found fentanyl in them.

"We're dealing with a lot of meth, fentanyl and heroin," said Rinehart.

After a person is arrested on drug crimes, some groups try to make sure they don't end up back behind bars later. The Metro Drug Coalition is one of those groups.

"If you're arrested for a drug charge or addicted to drugs, going into incarceration, of course, you're more likely to use when you come back out, without some type of support," said Jason Goodman, the director of recovery support services at The Gateway.

It's an MDC community resource center where people can go to find deep levels of support through recovery. Goodman said he spent around 15 years addicted to various drugs. During that time, he said he was only home for around two Christmas holidays.

After going through recovery, he said he has stayed away from drugs for around eight years.

"We need to be building more treatment beds than we do jail beds," he said. "The best thing somebody coming out of incarceration can do is come here."

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