Knoxville fights substance abuse during National Prevention Week

Knoxville fights substance abuse during National Prevention Week

Posted:
"I don't know too many families that aren't affected by this issue of substance abuse," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "I don't know too many families that aren't affected by this issue of substance abuse," said Mayor Madeline Rogero.
"It's a conversation that needs to start early and happen often," said Metropolitan Drug Commission Executive Director Karen Pershing. "It's a conversation that needs to start early and happen often," said Metropolitan Drug Commission Executive Director Karen Pershing.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County is cracking down on substance abuse.

Local law enforcement and drug prevention agencies are working harder than ever this week to raise awareness about the growing problem.

National Prevention Week is May 12 through May 17 in Knoxville, dedicated to stopping drug abuse in local communities before it even starts.

Monday, the Metropolitan Drug Commission, officials from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's office, and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero kicked off the week.

Rogero said drug and alcohol abuse affects everyone in the community.

"I don't know too many families that aren't affected by this issue of substance abuse," said Rogero.

National Prevention Week is focused on bringing attention to the issue and implementing ways to prevent it.

The Metropolitan Drug Commission is especially trying to combat substance abuse in local youth.

They say alcohol seems to be the biggest problem, with more than a third of Knox County teens binge drinking within the last 30 days.

Authorities say a growing number of teens are also heavily abusing marijuana.

Prescription pill abuse amongst teens has also increased at an alarming rate in the last four years.

Local police are working to catch those breaking the law, but what's being done to prevent other people from using?

The commission has provided drug prevention programs that are now being taught at local high schools.

They are also now working with Knox County retailers to make sure they aren't selling to those who are underage.

But they say the most effective tool to help stop and prevent substance abuse is having people willing to talk about it, especially parents with their kids.

"I'm a recovering addict, and I can think back and remember one of the first things that propelled me to even entertain the idea of getting help was people talking about it," said Webster Bailey, a board member of the Metropolitan Drug Commission.

"It's a conversation that needs to start early and happen often," said Metropolitan Drug Commission Executive Director Karen Pershing.

National Prevention Week is also working to link people who want out of substance abuse to treatment programs in the area.

For more information about treatment options or how you can help prevent substance abuse in Knox County, contact the drug commission at 865-588-5550 or visit their website.

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