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Metro officials work to combat high number of fentanyl overdoses

<i>WSMV</i><br/>Nashville Tennessee officials work to combat the  high number of fentanyl overdoses.
Nashville Tennessee officials work to combat the high number of fentanyl overdoses.

By Danielle Jackson

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — There’s an upward trend in overdose deaths throughout Davidson County.

Councilwoman Erin Evans, the chair of the Public Health and Safety Committee, leads the conversations where representatives from Metro Nashville Health Department and other county officials discuss presentations on fentanyl overdoses.

Tanja Jacobs shared her story of losing her son to a drug overdose on Memorial Day 2020. Jacobs says her son would do drugs recreationally but wasn’t considered a drug addict. He consumed what he believed to be cocaine, but it was later discovered to be 99% fentanyl.

“We as parents that lost a child to Fentanyl called it poisoning because if they received what they thought they were getting or had asked for whether or not it was Xanax, Adderall, cocaine, or even marijuana. They lied too, they were deceived, what they asked for is not what they got, and that is why they’re gone,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs has created a foundation in honor of her son, hoping to bring awareness to drug overdoses, deaths, and poison.

During Tuesday afternoon’s special meeting, data and statistics in the county showed that Fentanyl was detected in 77.8% of deaths this year.

The number of overdose deaths in the county has been on an upward trend since 2017, with 336 overdose deaths to 725 in 20-21. It’s even a problem that even hits home with former Nashville mayor Megan Barry after losing her son max in 20-17 to a drug overdose. He was just 22 years old. She spoke about the importance of awareness and the need to get a handle on this problem, especially here in Nashville.

“This is a national crisis, and Nashville is at its epicenter. We need to be more focused on making sure we have a strategic plan for our city so that no other family has to lose a child,” said Megan Barry, a former Nashville mayor.

Sgt. Mike Hotz, with MNPD Special Investigation Division, talked about the ongoing investigations of drug overdose deaths they’ve seen over several years.

Hotz said every officer has the resources to reverse the effects of Fentanyl exposure by using Narcan; however, the potency of Fentanyl requires more Narcan than officers typically carry.

“The two doses that we are all issued, the four milligrams, were found to not be enough in a lot of circumstances to save somebody’s life, and the pharmaceutical corporations actually had to back up and take a dose of Narcan that is twice as strong,” said Hotz.

If you or someone you know suffers from substance use disorder, they’re encouraged to call the community overdose response team at 615-687-1701.

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