You have been using substances since high school. Your mom had passed from cancer, and your dad was either working long hours in the mines or drinking. Needless to say, he didn’t pay much attention to you. It was nice having free reign to experiment and do what you wanted. But soon, your dad cut you off, saying he wasn’t going to let you live at home for free. Now you need to get a job and fund your habits.
When talking with your friend over a new batch of meth he just got, he informs you how you can make money and still have access to any substance you want. This intrigues you, and he fills you in on how much money you can make just by driving substances from Detroit down to Knoxville and sometimes Atlanta or Tampa. This is easy money, you have a somewhat old, reliable Honda and nowhere to be. Seems like your problem just solved itself. Until you get pulled over one day just inside the Tennessee border, and the officer immediately pulls you out and says the 313 Initiative has been tracking your car. What does that even mean? All you know is that you are in some serious trouble if they open the trunk.
Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, the Appalachia HIDTA task forces that operate within Tennessee were responsible for the seizure of more than $51.2 million worth of illicit substances. This did not include seizures of pharmaceutical drugs. At ReVIDA® Recovery, we have seen firsthand how the illicit substance market has been expanding within our communities. Our outpatient and medication-assisted treatment programs have helped many Appalachian residents find their success in recovery. We are a proud partner within our communities who are doing all they can to help illegal drugs from entering our great states. The 313 Initiative was created for this purpose. Let’s take a look at what they do.
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What Is the 313 Initiative?
The 313 Initiative is named after Detroit, Michigan’s area code, and is a collective effort between law enforcement agencies to stop drug trafficking. It began in mid-December of 2022 as more officers were noticing connections between drug arrests in Tennessee and the amount of people with northern ties. The connection was also made to I-75, a 1,786.47-mile stretch of highway running from Northern Michigan to Miami, Florida. Many arrests between Michigan and Tennessee have taken place on I-75, and sparked the need for the initiative.
Since the beginning of the initiative, 75 pounds of methamphetamines, 43 pounds of fentanyl, and 5 pounds of cocaine have been seized in Knox County, Tennessee. The 313 Initiative goes beyond just seizing substances, and has also collected over half a million dollars in cash as well as 130 firearms. This has also led to 246 criminal arrests. The goal of the initiative is to not only remove substances from the streets, but also reduce the amount of violence and crime within communities.
How Big Is the 313 Initiative?
In the beginning, five district attorney generals and eight local law enforcement agencies created the 313 Initiative back in 2022. Today in 2023, the initiative consists of more than 20 agencies. The main agencies involved are in Michigan and Tennessee, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and the Detroit Police Department. The partnership between branches and states is the driving force contributing to the success of the 313 Initiative.
The Impact of the 313 Initiative on Overdoses
The 313 Initiative was developed to make the streets a safer place and reduce the number of overdose deaths plaguing the United States, specifically Tennessee. Since its inception, overdose deaths in Knox County dropped from 487 to 440. Fentanyl has been the top contributing factor in overdose deaths throughout Knox County, and identifying the source of it was crucial to begin removing it from the area. The agencies behind the initiative encourage other states to join the cause as overdose deaths continue to rise in other areas of the country.
It only takes around 2 milligrams of fentanyl to induce a potentially fatal overdose. With the initiative seizing pounds at a time, they are reducing the chances of overdoses by removing the product altogether.
How Does the 313 Initiative Help Those Living With Addiction?
Addiction often occurs before the person realizes it is happening. When substances such as opioids or methamphetamines are used, the brain reacts and chemicals begin to change. For example, when heroin or fentanyl are used, they bind to the opioid receptors within the brain. This causes feelings of euphoria and pleasure as these receptors control the central nervous system. Once the opioids are out of the system, the brain tries to restore balance. This can be uncomfortable, and cause the person to want to use the substance again. Over time, this leads to dependence.
Dependence happens when the brain and body become used to the substances being taken. The person will need to take more in order to feel the same effects as before. However, this also causes withdrawal symptoms to occur between uses. Withdrawal is a series of unpleasant symptoms that are a signal from the brain that it needs more of the substance. This creates the cycle of continued use.
The 313 Initiative helps to try to prevent addiction from happening in the first place. By removing the number of substances that make it to the streets, they improve the odds that people will not come into contact with them. Illicit substances already pose a risk to physical and mental health, and with fentanyl making its way into more and more drugs, the risks of accidental overdoses are high. By seizing and properly disposing of the substances, the initiative is able to achieve its goal of reducing overdoses and crime.
Getting Help for Drug Addiction in Knoxville, TN
Trying to manage a substance use disorder and avoid getting caught by law enforcement is no way to live. With more and more organizations and agencies – like the 313 Initiative – working to stop the spread of illicit substances, the likelihood of facing legal repercussions is inevitable. Finding a treatment program can be the life-saving step you need to begin taking your life back. Medication-assisted treatment will help you develop healthy coping skills, rediscover your passions, and give you the tools needed to start over fresh. Most facilities can help with legal troubles and help you navigate the road back into society. You will never have to feel alone again, no matter what you are going through.
If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out. ReVIDA® Recovery has seen many walks of life and heard many different addiction stories. Our dedicated team will provide resources such as employment opportunities, education, and extended therapy after treatment. The outpatient program at ReVIDA® Recovery is flexible and includes medication-assisted treatment from our caring team of clinicians. Individual and group therapy round out our program and address trauma, family conflict, goal-setting, communication, and navigating emotions. Call us today at 423-631-0432 to schedule an appointment today.