The Knox County Health Department supports All4Knox, the joint effort between Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to address the substance misuse epidemic in our community.
As a lead partner, KCHD provides support in the following four main areas:
- Data Sharing/Analysis
- Prevention of infectious disease related to recreational drug use
- NAS Prevention
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) Prevention
Our Women’s Health Clinic provides free birth control and family planning education. In addition to serving those who come to our clinic, KCHD employees also engage in outreach. Once a month, our staff visits jails and rehabilitation centers to educate and offer birth control options. The women in these facilities tend to be most at risk of having a baby with NAS, so we meet them where they are and offer preventive options. For more information and the location of our Family Planning Services, visit our Women’s Health Clinic page.
Our Epidemiology program studies patterns, performs analysis and assesses data related to public health, including substance misuse. Examples of surveys conducted in Knox County include:
- BRFSS: Knox County’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is a telephone health survey system, tracking health conditions and risk behaviors.
- YRBS: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey tracks risk behaviors in Knox County’s students.
- Community Health Assessment: This extensive report focuses on detailing Knox County’s priority health issues.
- KCHD serves on several coalitions/committees to offer data analysis. For example, as part of our role serving on the Harm Reduction Coalition, our Epidemiology program analyzed, compiled and released the Knox County Naloxone Report where we looked at naloxone deployment by first responders. The purpose of this report is to help our community better understand the scope and depth of the opioid crisis which will help inform prevention efforts and response by partner agencies.
- KCHD has created a new position within the department, a Substance Misuse Response Coordinator. This person will facilitate the All4Knox efforts, which include coordinating the development of a community-wide strategic plan with local stakeholders to address the epidemic.
- The Strong Baby project is an effort to educate and improve the well-being of mothers, infants and children. The project has a strong emphasis on prenatal care, encouraging the mother to schedule regular appointments to manage health conditions and detect potential problems early, including NAS.
- The community relations team at KCHD educates the public regarding substance misuse by creating outreach opportunities through media interviews, social media posts and news releases.
- KCHD has hosted and served on numerous panels regarding the issue of substance misuse. In the past several years, KCHD hosted former CDC director, Tom Frieden, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and former Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, who have all been a part of promoting education and awareness around this important issue.
Prevention of infectious disease related to recreational drug use
- Drug use is a risk factor for several infectious diseases including hepatitis A and HIV. Our Centers of Excellence and Communicable Disease Clinics focus on identifying and treating infectious diseases that pose a public health threat. Confidential testing, treatment and educational services are available at KCHD. The Communicable Disease Clinic focuses on identifying and treating several STDs and tuberculosis, as well as testing for hepatitis C. From there, our hepatitis C program links individuals to care. Our Centers of Excellence Clinic is a specialty clinic that provides care to those infected with HIV.
- With an increase in hepatitis A cases across the state, KCHD is working with the Tennessee Department of Health to respond. KCHD is committed to providing considerable outreach and education to those most at risk, which in this outbreak includes those who use recreational drugs. For up-to-date numbers of hepatitis A cases across the state, visit the Tennessee Department of Health dashboard here.