To remember more than 240 people who have died from a suspected drug overdose in Knox County, the District Attorney General's Office has decorated an overdose memorial Christmas tree for families to visit.

"Everyday the number goes up," said Charme Allen, District Attorney General for Knox County. "It's a somber thing for us to do."

The tree represents 247 families in Knox County who have each lost a loved one to a suspected overdose.

Kim Jones hung an ornament in memory of her son Patrick who was just 21-years-old.

"I lost him on May 19 this year to a heroin overdose," she said.

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The Knox County District Attorney General's Office is displaying an overdose memorial tree to honor families who have lost a loved one to a suspected drug overdose. Nov. 29, 2017.

Patrick was in and out of treatment before his death. His mother said he had been to treatment facilities three times in the span of five months.

"He wasn't allowed to stay more than two weeks, which that is not enough time for an addict in treatment," Jones said.

He was out of treatment for just a month before his death.

"I found him in the yard around 4 in the morning and he had passed away," Jones said.

The pain of losing her son is deep, especially right before the holidays.

"I just take it one day at a time, that's all I can do," she said.

The tree is a reminder the opioid epidemic has no boundaries.

"These are people who are suffering from using the drugs, not the dealers but the folks who are addicted who are buying the drugs and overdosing and leaving behind the families we are talking about," Allen said.

Allen talks to these families often and her office has helped prosecute 11 cases connected to deadly overdoses.

"This is the first year they don't have the loved one they had and somebody provided those drugs to them to their loved one and we are trying to stop the drugs from flowing to those persons while at the same time honoring those who have lost their lives to drugs," Allen said.

Kim Jones holds an ornament honoring her son Patrick who died of a suspected overdose at the age of 21. 
Kim Jones holds an ornament honoring her son Patrick who died of a suspected overdose at the age of 21. 

Jones prays that someday there won't be a need for a tree.

"I don't want any other parents to go through what we've gone through with our son," she said.

She wants her son to be remembered along with the 246 other people no longer alive.

"Always in our thoughts. Forever in our hearts. And that's where he is, in our hearts," Jones said.

The tree is located near the District Attorney General's office and is open to the public.

The Knoxville Police Department will also hold a support group on Dec. 15 at the Safety Building starting at 6 p.m.