NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Nashville Health Department reports that there are nearly 20 incidents a day where first responders are called to help with an overdose. The department goes so far as to say that Nashville is on track to have the highest number of people killed by deadly drugs in the past five years.
“We have people dying and we have incidents of drug overdoses every day. I think we average in Nashville about 20 incidents a day,” said Brian Todd of the Metro Nashville Health Department.
Todd says it’s bad enough that so many people are overdosing across Nashville, but when you add deadly substances like fentanyl, it can get even more potent.
“Right now, about three-quarters of all drug overdose deaths involve fentanyl. So it’s scary, it’s something that’s seen in Nashville and not just Nashville across Tennessee and across the country,” Todd said.
For months, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, has urged residents to be on alert for the deadly drug. Fentanyl is known for its potency, 80-100% more potent than morphine.
“Someone might also think that, well, we hear that fentanyl is mostly in heroin, so if I’m on those other drugs, I don’t have to worry about that, and what we’re finding, it’s that fentanyl is in all kinds of street drugs,” Todd said, linking the trend to cocaine and marijuana.
Earlier in the week, Metro police made an arrest in a year-long investigation, dating back to February 5, 2021. Victor Scruggs, 35, was charged with second-degree murder after the police said he allegedly sold a South Nashville man heroin and methamphetamine. mixed with fentanyl the same day the man was found dead in his home.
In another case, Almurtaza Al Zerkani, 28, was charged with second-degree murder after selling women’s pills that looked like oxycodone but were allegedly mixed with fentanyl.
With fentanyl-related deaths on the rise, News 2 posed the question, why would dealers increase their drugs, if it could potentially kill someone?
Todd explained that it was a question he once asked an officer, who told him, “A lot of people who get high look for things that have fentanyl in them because the closer to death, the more high is important”.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, the Community Overdose Response Team is ready to help. The program is completely free and confidential, just call 615-687-1701.