WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is at the White House Wednesday. He’s in Washington, DC tonight to help fight the opioid crisis in East Tennessee.
Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bill that calls for more than six billion dollars in new funds to target opioid abuse. The Mayor says that money will be critical to boosting treatment and prevention programs in East Tennessee.
Today, the Mayor attended meetings in Washington and a ceremony with the President, which marked bi-partisan efforts to combat opioid and prescription drug abuse across the nation.
Jacobs says last year Knox County saw a 41% increase in drug-related deaths. Local officials also reported a significant surge in lives lost to fentanyl.
Despite the overwhelming scope of this problem, he’s hopeful that the community - and different levels of government - are on the right track toward overcoming these challenges.
“We’ve basically asked law enforcement to solve this issue on their own and that’s impossible - and that’s not what they do. We’re not going to incarcerate our way out of this problem. It’s just too big a problem," said Jacobs.
Jacobs says this is a deeply painful and thorny issue for Knox County and many other communities to resolve. He says it’s costing the state more than a billion dollars each year from those who can’t work because of addiction.
Jacobs says he’s honored that the White House invited him and other public officials from around the country to today’s events. He now heads back to Tennessee.