Children overdose cases in Hamilton Co. skyrocket

Hamilton Co. Health Department alerts the public

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – With recent spikes in child overdoses, the Hamilton County Health department wanted to alert the public through a media advisory.

Officials spoke on behalf of the department stating that there has been a recent spike in overdose exposures for children.

As we see an increase the use of these substances, it stands to reason that unfortunately, our children are going to be exposed to them as well,” said Dr. Stephen C. Miller, Hamilton County Health Department Health Officer. 

One health officer agreed it was fair to say these cases are the highest he’s seen in his career.

Over the years, we’ve seen sporadic adolescents over the years, perhaps a small number each year. That’s a significantly big change for the for this year, even the last few months, so much so that it’s concerned enough, that’s something that we don’t normally speak out on,” said Dr. Miller. 

The health officer goes on to explain that rescue medications can be helpful but only for a period of time until they wear off. 

It’s vitally important that if you’re considering using either substance in the presence of your children or other children, that you please do not do so in the same room, these children are very sensitive to the fumes, to the odors, to the even touching the substances. Please keep them away at all costs from the from these drugs.” 

Overdose prevention program manager, Lacey Goolsby says the department understands addiction can be difficult to face, but that if they’re looking for a way out, there are resources they can use. 

“Obviously, we just understand that this is an issue that people struggle with addiction. Then that goes hand in hand with you know, they have children and their caretakers. So, we try to make sure that everyone’s aware that there is some type of treatment recovery option out there,” said Goolsby.

The department is advising parents to keep any prescription medication or illegal substances out of reach and away from children, even by way of using a lock box

This all comes after the most recent incident where a two-year-old child died due to an overdose right here in Chattanooga.

Shortly after, both parents were arrested with bonds set at $620,000.


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