Overdose Memorial Tree Brings Attention To Drug-Related DeathsPosted: 12/11/2017
An Overdose Memorial Tree, decorated with blue and silver ornaments, stands outside the Office of the District Attorney General to remember the number of lives lost. Between the years of 2010 and 2015, the number of drug-related deaths in our community doubled and the number of lives lost continues to rise. Last year, 224 Knox County citizens lost their lives due to a drug overdose. The number of deaths for this year continues to rise and is on track to surpass last year’s number.
Since the Drug Related Death Task Force formed, the District Attorney General’s Office has come to know the victims’ families and see the pain their loved one’s death has caused. The Office is committed to fighting the drug problem in our community and hopes to use awareness to caution our community and bring light to how the presence of drugs impacts everyone.
“We began tracking and analyzing these numbers as a way to reduce drug activity in our community by advancing our investigation and prosecution tactics. Every day the number goes up and every day I am more aware of the fact that these numbers represent, not only lives lost but, also, grieving families and a community gravely impacted by drug abuse,” stated General Allen.
This year is the third year the Office has organized the Overdose Memorial Tree. Family members are invited to hang an ornament in honor of their loved one who passed away. Tracee Smith, Felony Drug Unit Victim/Witness Coordinator with the District Attorney General’s Office, coordinates the tree and the families who wish to participate.
“The holiday season is a particularly hard time for families and this tree offers them a place to grieve,” shares Tracee. “It is important for the families to know they are not alone and it’s also important for us to share their stories to help prevent drug-related deaths in our community.”
The Drug Related Task Force offers a support group for families of overdose victims. For more information, contact Tracee Smith at (865) 215-3875.
Also, if you or a loved one is seeking help for drug addiction, call The Tennessee REDLINE (1-800-889-9789). The Tennessee REDLINE is a toll-free information and referral line. The purpose of the REDLINE is to provide accurate, up-to-date alcohol, drug, problem gambling, and other addiction information and referrals to all citizens of Tennessee at their request.