KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Health Department has released a new report focusing on first responders’ use of naloxone to combat drug overdoses in the community.

The Knox County Naloxone Deployment by First Responders report looks at naloxone deployment data from AMR Rural/Metro EMS and Fire, Knoxville Fire Department and Knoxville Police Department from 2017-2021. It examines trends and changes. It was created by the health department on behalf of the Harm Reduction Coalition.

“Naloxone deployment is a daily occurrence in Knox County, with nearly six people receiving naloxone from a first responder each day,” said Roberta Sturm, Director of Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness at KCHD. “Over the years, this report has enabled us to have the knowledge and data to see how we, as a community, can find opportunities to address the overdose problem in Knox County.”

The report found that white men aged 30-34 received naloxone most frequently. In addition, an average of 180 individuals received naloxone from a first responder each month in 2021. This year also saw a greater number of deployments of naloxone by first responders than in each of the previous four years. 2021 also saw the largest number of overdose-related deaths.

The report also lays out several actions for the community to consider to help reduce overdoses.

  • Learn how to use naloxone
  • Carry naloxone with you — save a life.
  • Reduce the stigma of addiction.
  • If you are a parent, talk to your children about substance misuse
  • Keep all medicines in the home locked in a lock box or locked medicine cabinet
  • Safely dispose of all unused and no longer needed medications

To view the full report, click here.

This report comes as overdoses continue to be a growing problem in Knox County. According to the Knox County District Attorney, there were 505 suspected overdose deaths in 2022. So far in 2023, there have been 180 suspected overdose deaths, which is a significant increase from the 78 reported during the same period in 2022.