HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Opioids aren’t the only substances misused, but they are still a major problem.
“Alcohol is really still the leading problem, but what we are seeing creating the most urgency is, are the opioids due to the overdose deaths,” Knox County Health Department Substance Misuse Response Coordinator Amy Dolinky said.
That’s what Dolinky is trying to tackle.
She was at the Hamilton County Health Department on Tuesday to explain the All4Knox initiative.
It’s a strategy to create a substance abuse plan through reaching out to people in areas like education, business and government.
“I think what we’re realizing and why this initiative is important in Knox County is because we’re really pointing out the fact that everyone in our community has a role to play, and that everyone can be a part of that,” Dolinky said.
Drug overdose deaths in Hamilton County continued to climb between 2014 and 2017, but saw a drop in 2018 to 66 deaths.
Numbers statewide paint a different picture, as deaths have steadily increased since 2014.
“Our numbers for Knox County have been extremely high between, before 2017 we saw a 41 percent increase in overdose deaths we lose over, about 300 people to overdose in Knox County,” Dolinky said.
While many of the deaths are linked to opioids, Knox County’s initiative doesn’t just focus on that.
“Our ability to not just address overdose deaths, but we really expanded the initiative to cover all substances,” Dolinky said.
Visit the All4Know website for more information on the effort.