Michele Norris raises questions about the increased number of deaths from street drugs. Photos by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — Over 700 citizens and organizations from throughout Knoxville and Knox County among them  faith based organizations, businesses,  non profit organizations, and

Brett Pritts, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Nashville Office, shares latest information.

education leaders gathered together for a two day summit along with state and federal leadership  to begin what will  be a one year commitment to developing a strategic plan to turn the tide of the substance abuse epidemic.

The effort is called ALL4KNOX. It is a joint effort of Knox County and the City of Knoxville. The effort is being supported by the Metro Drug Association,  the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office, and the Knox County Health Department. 

The vision :decrease the impact of substance misuse within Knox County with a mission to create community level change and create a coordinated response. Knoxville, as well as the

Dr. Martha Buchanan Director of Knox County Health Department speaking at the summit.

state of Tennessee and the nation is in a crisis and  with Knoxville averaging almost death a day a solution must be found soon. Knoxville is not alone in the struggle.

In 2018, there were 1836 over dose deaths in Tennessee. 326 were in Knoxville.  There were also 806 suicide attempts in 2018.among the ages of 9 and 17 in Knoxville.

While death can be one result of addiction, there is the belief that medical, social, and economic  problems are also issues. In response, the city and county are taking a community wide stance.

Amy Dolinky will be heading the coordinated initiative between the city and county.
700 citizens and organizations unite to fight substance abuse.

Nine Sectors have been created to address the issues of substance abuse, adverse childhood experiences, and suicide. There will be an effort to raise the collective awareness of the problem with a goal of  reducing the stigma of addiction to encourage more people to seek help.