All across the state of Tennessee, families are dealing with the heartbreak of friends and relatives abusing opioids.

In Knox County alone, 253 people have died from suspected overdose deaths since the start of the year. That’s an increase from this time last year.

The Knox County district attorney general predicts the total number will surpass last year’s, but they’re striving to find new ways to keep the drugs out of people’s hands.

“We’re doing a couple of things. The first thing that comes to mind is our HIDTA Task Force. That’s our overdose death task force, and we’ve been very successful with that. We started that back in 2017 and what we do is we investigate every single overdose death as a potential homicide,” said District Attorney General Charme Allen.

She says the task force has charged 11 people with second degree homicide just last year, a direct result of the extra focus put on the epidemic.