Overdoses and Counterfeit Pills on the rise in the Volunteer State

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Overdoses and Counterfeit pills are on the rise in the Volunteer State.

Early data shows they have increased to an alarming new level, leaving officials on high alert.

 “When you are buying a drug on the road involving something like fentanyl, it’s beyond reckless. It’s not a matter of if it’s when,” says Tommy Farmer, TBI Dangerous Drug Task Force Special Agent in Charge.  

The Tennessean Bureau of Investigation’s Dangerous Drug Task Force says the number of overdoses from 2019-2020 has dramatically increased and that the 2021 data isn’t showing a decline. 

“From 19-20 we saw the most significant increase and according to the department of health, we saw about a 30-32%  increase in overdoses. In 2021 those numbers did not decline,” says Farmer.

The Tennessee Department of Health says that overdoses have occurred primarily in the 21-44 age group and involved fentanyl or meth.

“If you are looking at something that’s pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl diverted – you are looking at something that’s typically 10-15% more powerful than morphine. When you are dealing with something that’s synthetic analogs that you don’t know very much about, they are made in some drug lab in a remote area. It can be as high as 10,000 % more powerful than morphine,” says Farmer. 

 If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.

The Tennessee REDLINE is the 24/7/365 resource for substance abuse treatment referrals. Anyone can call or text 800-889-9789for confidential referrals.
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