Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jan 2017
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2017 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.


The Knoxville Police Department is seeking a federal grant to bring a
research-based approach to countering opioid abuse.

Judy Jenkins keeps her medication in a bucket stored in a pantry instead
of the medicine cabinet.(Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean)

The Knoxville Police Department is seeking a federal grant to bring a
research-based approach to countering one of the city's and the
Tennessee's fastest-growing epidemics - opioid abuse.

City Council members are set to vote on a resolution Tuesday night that,
if approved, would give KPD permission to apply for a 2017 Smart Policing
Initiative grant worth up to $700,000 over three years.

The federal funds, administered through the U.S. Department of Justice's
Bureau of Justice Assistance, support evidence-based policing approaches.
Up to seven agencies nationwide are expected to be chosen from among the

KPD's tentative plan would use a portion of the funding to hire a
full-time civilian crime analyst to work with local research partners in
developing a plan aimed at prevention and intervention of opiate drug
abuse, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said ahead of the City Council

"The opioid issue is one of those issues driving major problems, including
crime and deaths," Rausch said.

Tennessee ranked 11th in the nation for fatal drug overdoses in 2015, with
1,457 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among those deaths, 153 were reported in Knox County, which had the third
highest number of fatal overdoses among counties statewide, according to
Tennessee Department of Health figures.

In September 2015, KPD became the first law enforcement agency in
Tennessee to equip its patrol officers with naloxone hydrochloride, an
anti-opiate drug that acts quickly to reverse the effects of an overdose
until a patient can receive medical care. KPD officers have administered
the drug 43 times since, including one person who was saved on two
different occasions, Rausch said.

Rausch noted that among those patients saved who have a criminal record,
54 percent have not been arrested since.
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