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drugs in Tennessee

Drugs in the United States: Tennessee

State Facts
Population: 5,689,283
Law Enforcement Officers: 14,126
State Prison Population: 29,482
Probation Population: 40,060
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 8
2001 Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 484.2 kgs.
Heroin: 41.0 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 29.5 kgs.
Marijuana: 218.4 kgs.
Clandestine Laboratories: 461 (DEA, state, and local)

The Nashville District Office’s areas of responsibility include Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Jackson and Johnson City. A wide spectrum of illicit narcotics are currently available throughout Tennessee. To effectively combat this problem, DEA, local police departments, state agencies, and other federal law enforcement agencies are working together in a cooperative effort to increase the impact of drug law enforcement on narcotics traffickers.

Cocaine: The primary drug of abuse in the State of Tennessee is cocaine hydrochloride, and to a lesser extent, cocaine base (crack). Many of the violent crimes in the state are directly associated with the distribution and abuse of cocaine HCL and crack. Multi kilogram cocaine investigations and seizures are common place throughout the state.

Heroin: Heroin abuse in the state of Tennessee is limited. There have been no significant investigations or seizures of heroin in Tennessee in the last ten years. The only exception to this statement is the occasional highway seizure that was destined for another geographic area. The drugs of choice for the local addict population are diverted pharmaceutical drugs, such as Percodan, Percocet, and Oxycodone.

tennessee methamphetamine arrests Methamphetamine: Second only to cocaine trafficking in the state of Tennessee is the local manufacturing of methamphetamine. Clandestine meth labs in central and southeastern Tennessee have reached epidemic proportions. The number of laboratories seized in Tennessee has more than tripled in the last three years, from 137 laboratories in 1999 to 365 laboratories in 2001. It has been estimated that there is at least one methamphetamine lab either located or seized somewhere in the state every day.

Club Drugs: Tennessee has a growing “Club Drugs’ problem, with MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and GHB being the most common drugs of abuse. Rave Clubs, where these drugs are frequently sold, have been identified in the cities of Nashville and Knoxville.

Marijuana: Locally grown cannabis has been Tennessee’s largest cash crop for the past ten years, surpassing even tobacco. Tennessee has ranked in the top five states for eradication of cultivated plants for the last ten years, placing number one in 1997.

Other Drugs: OxyContin: The diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals, especially OxyContin, represents a significant threat to Tennessee. Oxycontin is a slow release form of the painkiller Oxycodone, which is of benefit to cancer patients and those with chronic pain. OxyContin, whose effects are the same as other opiate derivatives, is obtained legally through prescriptions, as well as illegally on the street.

DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have been 359 deployments completed resulting in over 14,456 arrests of violent drug criminals as of April 1, 2002. There have been 2 Atlanta Division Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) deployments in the state of Tennessee since the inception of the program: Chattanooga and Clarksville. These deployments resulted in 74 arrests and the seizure of 13.8 pounds of cocaine, 6.6 pounds of crack cocaine, and 4.4 pounds of marijuana. Also seized were 20 vehicles, 30 firearms, and over $5.5 million in cash and property.

Other Enforcement Operations: Eastern Tennessee, along with portions of Kentucky and West Virginia, has been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (Appalachian HIDTA). Until recently, the Appalachian HIDTA was a single mission HIDTA dedicated to cannabis eradication and cultivation investigations. In 2002, the Appalachian HIDTA was expanded to help combat the growing methamphetamine manufacturing problem.

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Tennessee Drug Report Data Source: US Department of Justice, DEA