Report: 2018 Knox County drug related deaths show 3% increase, improvement from year before

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE ) — Based on investigations from the Knox County Regional Medical Center, the 2018 Drug-Related Death Report shows the number of drug-related deaths in Knox County increased by just over 3% in 2018.

That increase, significantly lower than 2016 to 2017, 41% less.

“But at the same time, when I meet people on a daily basis who are in recovery… young people who are standing up… it gives me hope that we can change those numbers,” said Karen Pershing, Executive Director of Metro Drug Coalition.

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The report compares 2018 data to every year dating back to 2010.

Tracking the most frequently found drugs in drug-related deaths to geographic locations where drug-related deaths happen in Knox and Anderson counties.

The top five most frequently found drugs in drug-related deaths are Fentanyl and analogues; Methamphetamine, Heroin, Cocaine and Alcohol/Ethanol.

“It goes with whats cheaper at the time… whatever is the easiest to access illegally, whatever is the cheapest to get hold of. tends to be what leads the way at the time that is being abused,” said Ryan Reid, a master firefighter and paramedic for the Knoxville Fire Department.

The sharpest decrease was in the 15-24 year age group and the sharpest increase was for individuals between the ages of 25-34 in 2018.

The full report can be found online.

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