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UC Overdoses Following State Trends, Numbers Climbing

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UC Overdoses Following State Trends, Numbers Climbing

The Upper Cumberland continues to see climbing numbers of drug overdoses, according to experts.

Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Colby Lane said that fentanyl is the driving force behind most of the overdoses. Lane said that law enforcement sees traces of the drug in almost everything.

“Drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine,” Lane said. “They said they’re saying that 60 to 70 percent they see in tests that will test positive for fentanyl,” Lane said. “We’ve had reports of even marijuana even having fentanyl in it. So it’s just everywhere and that’s what’s causing the overdoses.”

Lane said fentanyl is about 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, and Carfentanil, a more synthesized version, can be up to 1,000 times stronger. Specialist Suzanne Angel said that the key in preventing overdosing deaths is the drug NARCAN. She said NARCAN saved over 22,000 lives since 2017 through the Tennessee Save A Life Program training.

Angel said she thinks that the pandemic attributed to the increase in overdoses. Supply changes also led to changes in usage patterns of opioids and changes in their effects.

“We did see a big increase right a few months into the pandemic,” Angel said. “They think briefly the supply was probably cut off in China for maybe a month and then it had to ship out, so people’s tolerance went down. With opioids the more you use them the more tolerance you get, and it just takes more and more to get the same or even lesser effect. But in 24 hours, your tolerance has decreased almost to that of someone who has never used.”

Angel said that illegal pill operations also contributed to the crisis.

She said that 2020 saw historic overdose rates.

“We saw the highest rate of opioid overdose, we saw the highest rate of stimulant overdose,” Angel said. “We saw the highest rate of fentanyl, which is a powerful opioid, overdose. It’s all dangerous.”

Angel said that there has never been a better time to avoid drugs, and that there has never been a better time to get training for NARCAN.

If interested in training, you can get in touch with Lane or Angel at (615) 588-1622, or the Tennessee REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.

The post UC Overdoses Following State Trends, Numbers Climbing appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.