Report shows nearly 8 percent increase in naloxone deployment in Knox County

Local News

The Knox County Health Department and the Harm Reduction Coalition have compiled their second report on naloxone deployment by first responders showing a nearly 8 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.

“The primary folks who are getting [naloxone] are people who are in their prime life, the 25 to 40 year olds is where we’re really seeing the most use,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan with the Knox County Health Department.  

Epidemiologists with the Knox County Health Department analyzed data from AMR Rural/Metro EMS and Fire, Knoxville Police Department and Knoxville Fire Department.

The report found an average of 114 persons received the opioid antidote naloxone each month, which is an average of four per day.

More online: Read the full report


White men between ages 25 and 39 were the most frequent recipients. Nearly 11 percent of those given naloxone during the 24 month period between October 2016 and September 2018 needed it more than once, and one person received it a total of seven times.

Seventy-nine percent of those who received naloxone were Caucasian. Eight percent were African-American and 10 percent did not have a race listed or declined to provide that information. 

Sixty percent of those who received naloxone were male while 40 percent were female.

Nearly 49 percent were between the ages of 25 and 39. Between the first report covering 2016-2017 and the second one covering 2017-2018, there was a 46 percent decrease in naloxone deployment in the 15-19 age group and a 12 percent decrease in the 65+ category.


The report states that over the two year span, 21 percent of all addresses were visited more than once, some of which may have been communal settings or areas that house more than one person. On 53 occasions, more than one person needed naloxone at the same location during the same responder encounter.

Naloxone was most frequently used in the 37920, 37921, 37917 and 37918 ZIP codes. However, when you factor the proportion of the population affected, a greater burden of suspected overdose affected the 37902, 37915, 37921, 37920 and 37912 ZIP codes.

The 37920 ZIP code, which consists of South Knoxville and South Knox County, saw a rate increase of 61 percent between 2017 and 2018, with higher areas of concern toward downtown.

Naloxone deployment and death

The Knox County Regional Forensic Center reported 316 overdose deaths in 2017, 27 percent of which received naloxone from a first responder on at least one occasion. Not all of them received naloxone on their date of death.

Testing showed naloxone in 68 persons who died from overdose-related deaths. Some of them received naloxone from someone who was not a first responder.

Eight percent of those who received naloxone from a first responder and later died from overdose-related causes received naloxone more than once.

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