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New law designed to crack down on repeat drug offenders
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Law enforcement may have another tool to use against persistent drunk drivers after a measure known as Amelia’s Law passed its final hurdle last week.
The bill, which now awaits only the signature of Gov. Bill Haslem, would keep tabs on known alcohol and drug abusers through a special instrument called a transdermal monitor that detects drugs and alcohol in their system. Parolees could be required to wear the monitor as part of their release from prison.
Detection of drugs and alcohol could lead to the revocation of their freedom. The device scans for the presence of drugs or alcohol every 30 minutes. Any judge could require an offender to wear the device if their crime had to do with drugs or alcohol.
The idea came about as a result of the death of a Blount County teen named Amelia Keown, 16. She was killed in a wreck in August 2012 when parolee John Perkins crashed into her vehicle while under the influence near Maryville. Tests showed he had meth in his system at the time of the wreck.
The device, supporters say, would give law enforcement a way of getting hard-core addicts off the street and back into treatment or confinement before they can cause such tragedies.
Should the governor sign the bill into law, it would take effect July 1.