July 27, 2011
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS COME TOGETHER TO DISCUSS THE GROWING PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IN TENNESSEE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The East Tennessee Prescription Drug Summit was held yesterday at the University of Tennessee Conference Center, Knoxville, Tenn. Featured speakers and presenters included representatives from the White House National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Congressmen and Senators, Tennessee Senators, federal, state and local law enforcement officials, and representatives from the pharmaceutical, medical, insurance and treatment industries. Over 200 individuals attended this day-long summit.
According to a 2011 report released by ONDCP, prescription drug abuse is the Nation's fastest-growing drug problem. The report indicates that while there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically. The same survey found that over 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives.
Law enforcement officers are increasingly encountering situations involving pharmaceutical drug use and abuse. The impact of these incidents poses a serious threat to the welfare of our communities and reports have been on a steady increase in the last several years. The illegal diversion of pharmaceutical drugs results in significant costs in terms of lives, increased crime, human misery from addiction and substantial costs connected to treatment and health care fraud.
The summit provided an opportunity for attendees and presenters from all of the represented agencies and industries to discuss this growing problem and formulate recommendations to confront this drug abuse issue.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian stated, "This diverse group of professionals came together at this summit to share information and begin developing a plan to combat what is truly becoming a nationwide epidemic."
The summit was co-sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center and the Knoxville Police Department as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies.