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Press Release

Justice Department awards more than $333 million to fight opioid crisis

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

$1.1 Million will support efforts to combat drugs and crime in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Knoxville, Tenn. – The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs announced awards of more than $333 million to help communities affected by the opioid crisis.  $1.1M will help public safety and public health professionals in the Eastern District of Tennessee combat substance abuse and respond effectively to overdoses.  OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan made the announcement during a visit with local, state and federal officials in West Virginia, one of the states hardest hit by the epidemic.

“The opioid crisis has destroyed far too many lives and left too many Americans feeling helpless and hopeless,” said PDAAG Sullivan.  “This epidemic—the most deadly in our nation’s history—is introducing new dangers and loading public health responsibilities onto the public safety duties of our law enforcement officers.  The Department of Justice is here to support them during this unprecedented and extremely challenging time.”

With more than 130 people dying from opioid-related overdoses every day, the Department of Justice has made fighting addiction to opioids—including heroin and fentanyl—a national priority.  The Trump Administration is providing critical funding for a wide range of activities—from preventive services and comprehensive treatment to recovery assistance, forensic science services and research—to help save lives and break the cycle of addiction and crime.

“As the opioid crisis continues, cheaper and more powerful opioid drugs, such as fentanyl, are increasingly being sought out by those who are addicted to prescription opioids.  These fentanyl drugs are especially deadly, whether taken alone or with other narcotics such as methamphetamine.  We will continue to work with local, state, and federal leaders to help educate the public regarding the dangers involved with the improper use and abuse of these dangerous substances,” said United States Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.

“The opioid crisis is a major issue in East Tennessee.  We appreciate the issuance of this grant and plan to use it to reduce opioid abuse and for treatment and recovery programs in Sevier County,” said Sevier Mayor Larry Waters.

“KLF is excited to work with the Department of Justice to continue to make an impact against the opioid crisis in E.TN.  With this grant award, we will invest in at risk youth through education that equips their mentors and caregivers on how to prevent opioid misuse.  In order to make a large, efficient and effective impact, we have developed and launched a multi-agency collaborative name Knoxville Area Mentoring Initiative that includes KLF’s Amachi Knoxville, Big Brother Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville, The Joy of Music School and YMCA of East Tennessee.  Working together we can provide the tools necessary for our young people to stand strong,” said Chris Martin, President of Knoxville Leadership Foundation.  

The awards will support an array of activities designed to reduce the harm inflicted by these dangerous drugs.  Grants will help law enforcement officers, emergency responders and treatment professionals coordinate their response to overdoses.  Funds will also provide services for children and youth affected by the crisis and will support the nationwide network of drug and treatment courts.  Other awards will address prescription drug abuse, expand the capacity of forensic labs and support opioid-related research.

The following awards were made to organizations in the Eastern District of Tennessee:
Sevier County Government - $600,000
Knoxville Leadership Foundation - $500,000

Information about the programs and awards announced are available here. For more information about OJP awards, visit the OJP Awards Data webpage.

The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training and technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  More information about OJP and its components can be found at




Rachelle Barnes
Public Information Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated February 10, 2021