Drug-related deaths climb in Anderson, Knox

The number of drug-related deaths in Anderson and Knox counties increased in 2021, according to the just-released 2021 Drug-Related Death Report for Knox and Anderson Counties by the Knox County Regional Forensic Center. The Center serves as the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office for both counties, which is why Anderson County’s numbers are included.

Last year, 85 people died in Anderson County compared to 51 in 2020, while 533 people died from drug overdoses in Knox County compared to 413 in 2020.

Drug overdose deaths increasingly involve synthetic opioids (fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) with decreasing numbers of prescription opioids (oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, etc.).

Here is a look at some of the highlights of the report for Knox and Anderson Counties:

• Knox County had a 29% increase in drug-related deaths from 2020 to 2021.

• Anderson County had a 67% increase in drug-related deaths from 2020 to 2021.

• Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (synthetic opioids) were the most frequently identified drugs in drug-related deaths in 2021.

• Polypharmacy, which is when more than one drug is responsible for death, was involved in 76% of drug-related deaths Knox County and Anderson County, separately.

• The five most common drugs identified in drug-related deaths in 2020 were synthetic opioids, methamphetamine, diphenhydramine, alcohol/ethanol, and cocaine.

• Prescription opioid-related deaths continue to decrease in our jurisdictions.

• The presence of anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-psychotic medication was found in 30% of all drug deaths in Knox County and 38% of all drug deaths in Anderson County.

Most drug-related deaths in Anderson County occurred in the age group of 35 to 44, with 26 recorded fatalities, while 16 deaths occurred in both the 25-34 age range and 45-54. 61% of the people who died in Anderson County were male, according to the report, which you can see in its entirety here.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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