Prescription opioid busts down in Tennessee, heroin busts up

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) works closely with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to track law enforcement data involving opioid crime.

According to TDMHSAS, since 2011, every year in Tennessee more than 6,000 people are arrested for crimes related to prescription opioids. Prescription opioids are pain killers, such as hydrocodone.

This number of arrests equates to more than 16 people getting arrested every day in Tennessee.

In 2016, 1,516 people were arrested for heroin offenses, which is an average about four Tennesseans arrested per day.

That number is significantly up since 2009, when only 169 arrests were recorded.

Drug seizures of prescription opioids have steadily dropped in recent years, from 6,858 seizures in 2012 to 4,585 in 2015. However, law enforcement seizures of heroin are rising.

There were 599 in 2015, compared to only 82 in 2009.

TDMHSAS says there has been a 249 percent increase, since 2013, in the number of drug offenders who go through court-mandated drug programs.

Reporter Julie Edwards reports on crime trends each week on Tuesday and Thursday on News 2 at 4 p.m.