Tennessee Judiciary Committees Approve Legislation To Crack Down On Out-Of-State Drug Trafficking

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Senate and House Judiciary Committees approved legislation this week to attack a source of illegal drug activity in Tennessee. The bill, Senate Bill 3027 by Senator Steve Southerland and Representative David Hawk, would stiffen penalties against those who get prescriptions in another state and return to distribute the drugs illegally in Tennessee.

Action on the bill follows a 96.6 percent increase in drug-related deaths, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some Tennessee law enforcement officers attribute the increase to the misuse of prescription drugs by those who obtain them legally from out-of-state “pill mills.”

“States across the South have seen an increase in crime stemming from the rise of pain clinics in Florida, where the laws are much looser than other states,” said Senator Southerland. “These are often referred to as pill mills. We have experienced major drug busts in several of my counties involving drugs obtained at these pill mills and sold illegally in Tennessee.”

The most common drugs found are OxyContin, Darvon, and Vicodin, but drug busts in Tennessee also have included Xanax and Roxicodones. The legislation would increase the penalties for the illegal trafficking of out-of-state drugs from a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a 30-day jail term and up to $50 in fines, to a Class D felony with a 2 to 12 years in prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

“There have been vans of people involved in traveling to Florida pain clinics to pick up these prescriptions, which are intended for illegal resale,” said Rep. Hawk. “The fine is presently so low that it is not a deterrent. Narcotics agents tell us that a person can receive up to 120 OxyContins on a trip and return to sell them for as much as $80 per pill on the street. This is becoming a big problem in Tennessee as drug dealers are very proficient in knowing where to go to get prescriptions that are not tracked, and that includes out-of-state clinics.”

The lawmakers filed the bill after law enforcement officials in their East Tennessee counties brought the matter to their attention. Tennessee law requires all entities that dispense medications to file information on controlled substance on a state database to monitor abuse. That law has helped curb prescription drug abuse by providing information to those prescribing and dispensing the drugs to alert them of potential abusers.

Although 40 states have laws establishing drug monitoring programs, Florida is among those which do not have a program. That state now has one of the highest concentrations of pain clinics in the U.S., including those housed in shopping centers. This has caused other states to pass laws cracking down on offenders who traffic these drugs within their boundaries.

"This legislation is a very good start in addressing illegal drug activity due to the purchase of out-of-state drugs," added Senator Southerland. “Hopefully, this legislation will be approved so that we can curb this abuse.”


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ATOIQUE, YOMARA DENISE  520 VERNON AVENUE DALTON, 30720  Age at Arrest: 42 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY (UNDER $500) --- BERRY, CHARLES MICHAEL  309 WEST MIDVALE AVE RED BANK, 37405  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank FAILURE TO ... (click for more)

Corker Condemns North Korean Missile Launch

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned North Korea’s illicit missile launch and called for a more proactive U.S. approach to deal with the growing North Korean nuclear threat. The Senate is expected to debate and pass the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (Gardner-Menendez) this week.     ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)

Red Bank Beats Pigeon Forge For A-AA State Duals Title

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Red Bank Lions finally reached the mountain top as far as high school wrestling is concerned. The Lions had finished second to Bradley in the State Duals back in 1995 and it had been 16 years since the Lions had been involved, but they put an exclamation point on a strong dual-meet season by winning the Class A-AA title here at Williamson County Agricultural ... (click for more)

Bradley Whips Soddy Daisy For AAA State Duals Title

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Bradley Bears have won more state duals titles than anyone and they added another one after going four years without being in the championship round. It’s been a remarkable season for the Bears, who beat region-rival Soddy Daisy by a 52-21 margin for their latest state title. Saturday night’s   match was never really close as the Bears had a ... (click for more)