CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Cheatham County emergency responders saved another life Wednesday from an overdose. It’s a scenario they are seeing far too often, and it doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Drug overdoses are up more than 29 percent across the U.S., according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rural areas are hit especially hard, in Cheatham County they are seeing overdoses nearly every other day.
“We are roughly at 90 overdoses for the year, and we are just in July,” said an undercover Cheatham County narcotics agent.
Concerning numbers coming off an already troubling year.
“I feel the numbers will probably meet or surpass what they have in 2020,” he said.
Twenty-four overdose deaths were reported in Cheatham County in 2020, a 60 percent increase from the previous year. The CDC report says more than 3,000 Tennesseans died due to drug overdoses in 2020, a more than 44 percent increase. In 2020, U.S. overdose deaths hit a record high with 93,000 overdose deaths.
“Mostly what we are seeing nowadays with the real fast overdoses is people are ingesting it through their nose,” the agent explained.
Body camera footage captured a victim that did just that. This one, emergency responders were able to revive with Narcan. The agency said they responded to 151 overdoses in 2020, pointing to the pandemic as one of the factors.
“I think the dramatic increase is because it’s just so easily accessible. There’s individuals ordering it basically off the dark web and having it internationally shipped.”
From shipment to ingestion, the narcotic is keeping emergency responders busy, and the work of the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t stop at the scene. They work the cases daily from tracking down dealers to the back end of every overdose.
“To get an idea of where these drugs are coming from that put them on their death bed so we can hopefully make an impact on where it’s coming from before someone else’s child, husband, brother, etc. gets ahold of the same narcotic and ends up in the same hospital bed or even worse they end up expiring. It takes a toll on you at times. It does, if you see it day in day out, week in, week out and you have some of these cases that are just unsolvable,” the agent explained.
However, he says their efforts don’t stop, with hopes of full prosecution to get the drugs off their streets.