Knoxville police say drug dens are popping up in the area, but prosecutors are using a state law to shut them down. The Knox County District Attorney’s Office says this effort is helping combat the drug epidemic.
One drug den in Knoxville was boarded up last week at 1617 Fay Street. The Knox County District Attorney’s Office said two overdoses happened there. Prosecutors called it a haven for drug use and distribution.
“Just irritations and complaints,” said resident Owen Richardson.
Richardson lives next door to the house. He noticed his street got quieter after it was shut down.
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said drug activity is almost always the reason a place is shut down. In less than a year, three residences were labeled as drug dens and boarded up. Multiple overdoses happened at each one but this is not the complete picture. Allen said they have done a little over 50 nuisance closures and a little less than half have been residences. The rest have been businesses like gas stations or bars.
“We are not actually charging anyone with a crime. What we are doing is we are trying to stop a nuisance,” said Allen.
Sgt. Josh Shaffer worked with the Knox County District Attorney’s Office on some of these nuisance closures. He said it is not their intent to seize the property. Once things get cleaned up, they reopen the residences and so far, he said the results have been positive.
“The fact that we are not getting calls there is the positive for us,” he said.