Fentanyl overdoses on the rise in Walker County, Georgia & Tennessee

Tennessee & Georgia each see synthetic drug overdose deaths rise by 24% from Oct. 2020-Oct. 2021

WALKER COUNTY (WDEF) – Saying ‘no’ to drugs is harder than ever. Part of the reason is because pills you might get for pain actually may come with something you didn’t expect.

The Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force says that little something is fentanyl, and it doesn’t take much to kill you.

The recreational drugs of choice have changed throughout the years: from cocaine to crack, then heroin, and now fentanyl.

The drug, which is mainly used in hospitals to treat severe pain, is now flooding the Tennessee Valley and North Georgia. How is it getting here? Mixed as a concoction with other drugs or alcohol. Caine Railey, commander of the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force explains what he’s seen mixed with it.

“Anyone that does illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin. Even marijuana. We have found fentanyl in marijuana before. It just takes two milligrams to be a lethal overdose, and that’s a tip of a pencil.”

Because you can’t see or know fentanyl is in pills disguised as Percoset or oxycodone, the number of drug overdose deaths are on the rise.

From October 2020 to Halloween last year, the number of drug overdose deaths relating to synthetic opioids like fentanyl skyrocketed. Tennessee saw that number jump just over 24 percent. So did Georgia, and especially in Walker County.

Two of those fentanyl overdoses happened at a particular house in LaFayette. It happened on Halloween. A man and a woman both overdosed. The man lived. The woman died. Walker County isn’t just seeing this as their own problem. They’re seeing it as an everywhere problem.

Railey: “They’re real cheap and easy to get. The primary area they’re coming from is Tennessee, from Atlanta, which would be the hub for most drugs.”

Railey says most of the fentanyl in America is mass produced in either China or Mexico, and then flown in or taken across the border into our neighborhoods.

The rest of it is made right here in the U.S.A., and it may be even closer than what you think.

Railey: “It’s also being produced locally, in local labs here and there’s no regulation, or anything on these labs, these people are doing, so you don’t know how much fentanyl is in each pill and that’s why you see the overdoses so high right now.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency told police departments that there was a progression to fentanyl, and there’s going to be one away from it. There’s a new drug on the way that’s 40 to 50 times more potent than fentanyl. The DEA wants police departments to get a handle on it now before it becomes a major epidemic.

Categories: Featured, Health, Local News, Regional News, Walker County