Overdose deaths in Davidson County on the rise
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Overdose deaths in the city of music are on the rise.
New figures obtained from the Metro Public Health Department show that the number of people who died of suspected drug-related overdoses rose 12% in 2021 compared to the same period last year.
“I don’t know a lot of people who haven’t had family, friends or other people, who haven’t been negatively affected by the use of opioids or other drugs,” he said. said Dr Gill Wright III, Interim Medical Director of Metro Public. Department of Health.
Health experts say there is a direct correlation between overdose deaths and drugs containing fentanyl.
“We’re seeing more and more fentanyl mixed in with things,” Wright said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to create, inexpensive to make, increases the number of individuals. The problem is that unlike drugs that are prescribed, there is no quality control so an addict gets it, and it can be 1% fentanyl or 20% fentanyl.
Davidson County data is sobering. According to health officials, 77% of suspected overdose deaths this year involve fentanyl, up from just 20% last year.
“What they’re doing, using drugs on the street, they have no idea. Does it contain a large amount of fentanyl, a small amount or no fentanyl? And it can be fatal for them.
Metro Health officials are also reporting a 50% increase in the number of syringes they collect and dispose of this year compared to last year.
Already this year, Metro Health officials have collected 215,000 syringes. This is 50% more needles collected this time compared to last year, when 425,600 syringes were collected in 2020.
Dr Wright says some of the needles collected could be used for legitimate purposes.
“Over the past year, we have seen a 50% increase in the needles we collect and dispose of for some of our partners on the streets who are trying to get drug addicts to use clean needles to reduce the risk of contamination. infectious. diseases. So with that 50% increase, it could be patients who need to inject drugs, like diabetes drugs and others, but it’s probably drug related. And that could be a precursor to what we’ll see over the next six months to a year. “
Health officials also told News 2 that the number of overdose-related transports was down 9%. Experts say there are two reasons for this. First, more and more drug addicts are carrying life-saving Narcan. Second, more and more people overdose and die and there is no need for transportation.
The overdose crisis in Tennessee is evolving in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. First responders and emergency rooms are reporting an increase in overdose cases. News 2 examines the disturbing trend in a special survey. Read the latest reports here.