The goal of the All4Knox initiative is to create and implement a communitywide strategic plan to reduce substance misuse and its impact on individuals, families and our community. Following the guidance set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a national substance misuse prevention agency, nine community sectors were convened to develop strategies for their sector on how they will contribute to the overall, communitywide strategic plan. Individual sector strategies were created between 2019 and 2020, beginning at the August 2019 Mayors’ All4Knox Summit and provide the details for a three-year strategic plan. More information about this process and how the community can help is available here.
The strategic plan was released on October 14, after a hiatus from April through July due to COVID-19. You can see the document completed here. Regarding implementation, priority strategies were chosen at the January Sector Lead Retreat. Six year-one priority topics were identified, creating the implementation teams. As we move into the implementation phase, the sectors have been dissolved and the cross-sector implementation teams have replaced them. Teams include:
Providing one place where the community can find information about efforts to address this epidemic is just one component of All4Knox. The long-term goal is to update and implement the Strategic Plan developed by the community, thereby reducing substance misuse and its impact. The strategic planning process was launched at the Aug. 2 Mayors’ All4Knox Summit. Click here for more information.
Beginning in 2018, at the direction of both Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, All4Knox began. This joint initiative would become the basis for addressing the opioid and overall substance misuse epidemic in Knox County. Leaders from the city, county, Metro Drug Coalition, health department, and district attorney general’s office began meeting to discuss ways in which the needs of the community could be met, and lives could be saved. This resulted in the 2018 Mayors’ Community Summit: A Community Discussion on Substance Misuse. This summit began the initial planning process that would encompass a communitywide plan.
Initial priorities and themes were developed at the 2018 summit and resulted in a proposal to develop a strategic plan (more details on the discussions and outcomes of the 2018 summit are available here). Key stakeholders from the city, county, public health, and Metro Drug Coalition continued to meet and discuss progression toward a healthier and safer community free of substance misuse. Stakeholders in nine identified community sectors were contacted to create subcommittees that were willing to tackle collaboration within their respective sectors. In April of 2019, a substance misuse response coordinator was hired at the Knox County Health Department to facilitate the communitywide strategic plan. In August 2019, the Mayors’ All4Knox Summit was held as a launch for the strategic planning process. In February of 2020 a Public Health analyst was hired through the CDC foundation to assist with all4knox efforts. The Public Health analyst had been a critical member of the team and was instrumental in kickstarting the initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about this process is available here. In August 2019, the Mayors’ All4Knox Summit was held as a launch for the strategic planning process. More information about this process is available here.
The scope of substance misuse is broad and far-reaching. To explain this complicated issue, we must review the full spectrum. It is important to begin with the upstream causes, such as childhood trauma, then move into the behaviors and factors that can lead to substance use disorders. Finally, we must review both the devastating individual impacts and deaths, as well as the community outcomes and economic costs. Click here to download the All4Knox Strategic Plan Roadmap, which summarizes the scope of this epidemic. Some updated statistics can be found here in the All4Knox strategic plan.
Several government agencies and health care providers are sharing data to help our community better understand this epidemic. Some of their findings include:
All4Knox is a joint effort of Knox County and the City of Knoxville with facilitation and coordination support from Metro Drug Coalition, the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office and Knox County Health Department. Our hope is to bring together our governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith-based communities and many others in a coordinated fashion to address the substance misuse epidemic.