As the opioid epidemic rages on, it is becoming obvious that no city within the U.S. is immune to drug addiction. One such city that has become affected is Knoxville, Tennessee. Being one of the most popular cities in the Southern United States, Knoxville offers both urban and country lifestyles. The city is one of the best locations for barbeque sauce, in addition to offering residents a country and city lifestyle. Even though Knoxville is a desirable place to live, drug and alcohol abuse among its residents is on the rise. This can be demonstrated by looking at Knoxville drug use statistics.
Addiction in Knoxville
In the years leading up to the COVID-19 epidemic, Knoxville was experiencing an increase in drug overdoses. The epidemic took hold and spiked, resulting in the deaths of an innumerable number of Knox County residents. The drug overdose rate increased by 41%, with 413 dying in the county alone. It’s not just Knoxville seeing this phenomenon, but the whole country. In 2020, 93,000 Americans died from overdoses, an increase of 30% from the previous year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Drugs Commonly Abused in Knoxville, TN
Fentanyl, a dangerous opioid that is used to treat severe pain or palliative care, is the most frequently abused substance in Knoxville. The substance is so dangerous that a lethal dose is just 2 milligrams. Fentanyl is up to 150 times more potent than morphine, which makes it a highly risky drug to abuse. Despite the risks, this medication has become more popular in the area over time.
For example, a man was arrested in the city of Knoxville in the spring of 2021 for possessing enough fentanyl to ‘kill all of rural West Tennessee’s residents.’ The police seized two pounds of fentanyl, 12 pounds of methamphetamine, 7 pounds of marijuana, and LSD in an undisclosed quantity. Fentanyl is still the most common drug-related drug overdose death in Knoxville.
It is estimated that there are at least 800 active meth labs operating in Tennessee at any given moment. Methamphetamines are frequently connected with drug abuse in Tennessee because of the high rates of opioid addiction. Among those who are addicted to opioids such as fentanyl, methamphetamine is frequently used as a stimulant substance. As fentanyl abuse rates rise, so do methamphetamine rates. Methamphetamine is increasingly popular than ever before, having having replaced marijuana’s number one spot as the most-abused drug in the county. Marijuana accounted for 9,795 submissions in 2019, compared with 12,072 submissions for meth.
What’s Being Done to Combat Addiction Crisis in Knoxville?
Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists (ROPS)
Across the state of Tennessee, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists (ROPS) provide training and education on opioid overdose prevention as well as naloxone distribution. From October 2017 to April 2022, over 300,000 units of naloxone were distributed by the ROPS, and the Tennessee Department of Health Services has recorded at least 44,000 lives saved thanks to naloxone distributed during that time. Because of stigma and other issues, the department believes that the actual number of lives saved is much higher. Paramedics, nurses, and Certified Peer Recovery Specialists are among the ROPS’ diverse backgrounds. There is a total of 20 ROPS operating in 13 regional divisions across the state.
A Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist connects with their assigned communities through training events, and they provide material for the trainings, which includes:
- Harm Reduction – Rather than making judgments about where people should be, the Harm Reduction approach seeks to address the needs of those who are currently using substances. Fortunately, there are a variety of scientifically-proven techniques for lowering the risks associated with substance use. Naloxone, a substance that can save lives in the incident of an overdose, is a prime example.
- Addressing Stigma – ROPS seek to reduce stigma in their communities by encouraging individuals attending their training to use person-first language, recognizing that substance use disorders are still medical disorders. Other stigma reduction topics include recognizing unintentional bias, examining substance abuse from a continuum perspective, and recognizing that substance abuse is often associated with trauma.
- Increasing Awareness – ROPS provide education about the opioid epidemic’s wide reach, the brain science of addiction, compassion fatigue, and naloxone administration in their training.
Preventing Rural Opioid Misuse Through Partnerships and Training (PROMPT TN)
The PROMPT TN program will combine the expertise of multiple institutions to develop opioid-specific resources to raise understanding of the reasons behind opioid misuse in an effort to prevent it. The PROMPT TN program will be led by the UT Extension team at UT Extension, East Tennessee State University, and Tennessee State University’s Addiction Science Center. It will focus on creating opioid-specific material to raise awareness of the epidemic’s current causes as well as to prevent future abuse.
PROMPT TN will employ an innovative approach to fight the opioid crisis. Extension educators, public health professionals, and community members will be equipped to respond to the opioid epidemic through training in its complexities. Local initiatives will be equipped with customizable templates, and a resource hub will be provided. Faculty who work on PROMPT TN will then assess the magnitude of the economic impacts of opioid misuse and abuse by identifying risk factors.
Lastly, PROMPT TN will assist communities to put into practice tested prevention programs that lower risk factors such as community norms that encourage drug use and low school commitment while increasing protective factors such as strong family and community connections and opportunities for social activities.
How Do I Get Help for Drug Addiction in Knoxville?
Getting assistance for drug addiction is a significant step towards freedom. In addition to providing the safest and most comfortable approaches to achieving sobriety, rehab centers provide the highest probability of maintaining sobriety once achieved. Because treatment is not a one-size-fits-all procedure, every individual requires custom care based on a variety of factors, including what drugs they are hooked on, how long they have been hooked, whether or not they have any co-occurring issues, and their personal preferences. Every treatment facility offers a distinctive treatment approach. Despite the substantial variations, there are several generalities that are common to most treatment procedures.
- Contact – The first step in transforming your life is for the patient (or a loved one) to contact and enroll in a treatment facility. Unfortunately, many individuals who require treatment are reluctant to do so. Fortunately, treatment centers offer a simple and comforting admissions process. All you have to do is make a call to get the ball rolling.
- Assessment – Medical and clinical personnel interview the client and decide on their treatment plan. Medical and clinical staff evaluate what substances the patient is addicted to, how long they have been addicted, whether they have any mental health disorders, and other issues at the beginning of treatment. The treatment process begins when staff tailors a recovery program for each individual patient to maximize their chances of success. It is critical that patients are continually assessed to ensure that their needs are met as part of a treatment program.
- Detox – Clients who are undergoing treatment for substance abuse are often required to undergo detoxification, or cleansing of harmful substances from their systems before receiving treatment. The medical team guides the client through withdrawal to ensure that it is as safe and comfortable as possible. Withdrawal from substance abuse is often difficult, and clients may require medication to aid in detoxification. Other therapies may also be initiated while the client is in detoxification. Medical-supervised withdrawal is safer, more comfortable, and more likely to be successful than self-withdrawal.
- Treatment Program – Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers are frequently the most severe instances of addiction treatment. Normally, the term “inpatient” refers to a medical treatment center or hospital. Someone who attends an inpatient rehab program usually does so involuntarily—they might be sent because of a medical emergency or because a court has ordered them to appear. On the other hand, residential rehab is frequently completed voluntarily, and it takes place at a private clinic. Some treatment providers offer extensive medical care in a highly structured environment as part of day treatment/partial hospitalization programs. Following intensive residential treatment, you can opt for intensive outpatient care. It’s still highly structured and consists of daily group and individual therapy, psychoeducation, and experiential therapy while the client begins to transition back into daily life. This form of treatment is more flexible in that it allows the client to return to work, school, or family life.
Knoxville Recovery Center is Ready to Help
At Knoxville Recovery Center, substance abuse and mental health issues are addressed head-on so that healing may begin. We pride ourselves on our commitment to individualized treatment plans that we develop for each and every patient, which aim to dispel the darkness of their disease and allow them to act as responsible, productive members of society.
Clients will receive individual and group treatment with a master’s degree therapist, in addition to other holistic therapies that provide counseling and peer support. If you’ve found yourself here, you don’t have to suffer any longer. We can assist you in leaving that darkness behind forever. With comprehensive treatment, your addiction can be treated, and a fresh day is just ahead. Please contact us today so we can help you recover once and for all.