TBI leaders weigh in on new, ongoing drug challenges across Tennessee


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Tuesday, TBI leaders didn’t sugarcoat the state’s ongoing drug issues, with new threats joining the old and risking lives.

There are both imported and home-grown drugs, along with powerful prescriptions which spark opioid addictions.

TBI leaders said a new kind of meth is pouring into our state from Mexico and providing new problems for communities filled with people needing their fix, and getting it cheap.

“It’s just opened up a whole new crisis for us,” TBI Assistant Director T.J. Jordan said.

For TBI leaders, crystal meth is the most critical drug threat facing Tennessee today.

“We are seeing an abundance of meth, at low price,” Jordan said.

Jordan weighed in on this new challenge, Mexican-made meth, after years of law enforcement chipping away at another similar challenge: home-grown meth operations in Tennessee.

“We are not talking about your father’s or grandfather’s methamphetamine,” Jordan said. “It’s much more potent.”

“It’s a supply and demand situation and the demand is still there,” TBI Special Agent in Charge Jay Barnes said.

Then there’s the ongoing opioid issues, hitting Tennessee’s urban and rural counties equally hard, and keeping the TBI’s resource-challenged drug investigators busy.

“When you’ve got availability and vulnerability and accessibility and being affordable, the challenge is plugging the holes,” Jordan said.

Even with medical marijuana recently becoming legal in nearby Arkansas, Tuesday, TBI leaders made their views on the substance especially clear.

“Make no mistake, the TBI is adamantly against the legalization of marijuana,” Jordan said.

TBI leaders said last year, processed marijuana topped the list of seized drugs.

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