District Attorney General Charme P. Allen appointed to Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council as a leader in the effort to combat the opioid epidemic

Lt. Governor Randy McNally appointed Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen to serve on the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council.

Pursuant to Chapter 491of the Public Acts of 2021, the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council will oversee funds received by the state in connection with any opioid-related judgment, settlement, or bankruptcy recovery. The council will ensure that funds are disbursed for statewide, regional, and local opioid-related abatement programs such as treatment, education, drug courts, and data-evidence based programs. The use of the funds must be on the pre-approved list or approved by the council.

“General Allen has been at the forefront of the fight against opioid addiction. She has made the accountability of opioid manufacturers a major focus of her work. She is perfectly suited to serve on this council. I am confident she will do an excellent job,” stated McNally.

Under General Allen’s leadership, the Knox County District Attorney’s Office coordinated with federal and local law enforcement agencies and the Knox County Regional Forensic Center to create the Drug Related Death Task Force. This initiative allowed agencies to treat overdose deaths as criminal investigations. This partnership not only strengthened law enforcement’s ability to stop dangerous drug traffickers from operating in our community but also created new avenues to gather, share, and analyze data.

General Allen also served as a sector lead for All4Knox, a joint City of Knoxville and Knox County initiative, whose mission is to create and implement a communitywide strategic plan to reduce substance misuse and its impact on individuals, families, and our community.  Individual sector strategies were created between 2019 and 2020.

In 2017, the District Attorney General’s Office, McNabb Center, and Knox County Sheriff’s Office started a pilot program referred to as “A Shot at Life.” The program embedded medication assisted treatment into the Knox County criminal justice system to reduce recidivism and relapse rates for non-violent offenders with opioid use disorders. The program demonstrated positive results; however, the program also demonstrated that individuals need long-term care and supportive relationships to maintain sobriety. These findings reveal a need for additional community support for individuals in recovery.

“Opioid abuse has wreaked havoc in our state, effecting every corner of our community. We know that community commitment and investment can reverse the harmful and deadly impacts we’ve experienced.” stated Allen. “The opioid abatement council is a needed next step in our fight to save lives and create a safer community.  I’m honored to continue to serve Knox County and Tennessee in this way.”

For more information regarding the Knox County District Attorney’s efforts to combat substance misuse in Knox County, visit the Suspected Overdose Death Dashboard.