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 - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BATES, AMY LYNN 5924 PORTER DR HARRISON, 37341 29 Chattanooga DRUGS GENERAL CATEGORY FOR RESALE POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA THEFT OF PROPERTY BOWLING, JERMICHAEL DEJUAN 5400 CENTRAL AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37404 34 Chattanooga Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) BRYSON, ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Halloween On Raccoon Trail

A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)

GPS Advances To Division IIAA Soccer Championship

MURFREESBORO - GPS defeated Brentwood Academy 3-0 to advance to the finals of the TSSAA Division II-AA soccer tournament.   The Bruisers scored one first half goal in the 38th minute off the foot of senior Lindsay Rufolo.   Fourteen minutes into the second half Emily Large added the first of two insurance goals. Six minutes later at the 60-minute mark Catherine ... (click for more)

Hixson Clinches 6-AA Title With Shutout Over Brainerd

Just about any coach will tell you that winning ugly is always better than winning pretty. Such was the case at Hixson Community Stadium on a frigid Halloween night as the host Wildcats finished off their regular season with a 19-0 win over the Brainerd Panthers. Hixson improves to 8-2 overall and 6-0 in District 6-AA while Brainerd is now 3-7 overall and 3-3 in 6-AA. It ... (click for more)