HOHENWALD, Tenn. (WKRN) — Heroin, meth, and fentanyl are killing rural communities like Lewis County.
The police chief in Hohenwald says he is determined to curb the number of overdoses they are seeing, but the community has to help.
“I’m tired of it, I’m sick of it. I want us to come together as a community. We need their help, we can’t fight this fight alone. We need everybody on board to beat this,” Chief Kiplan Kelsey stated.
As the clock ticks, the overdose numbers rise.
“Over the last year we’ve seen an extreme amount of overdoses,” he said.
While Narcan has helped save the lives of many, others haven’t survived.
“There needs to be consequences because it’s killing our community.”
A recent death investigation into a 21-year-old in Lewis County landed a 20-year-old behind bars. He now faces criminal homicide charges after he admitted to supplying the counterfeit control substance “Roxy” to the deceased.
“It’s a tragedy. [With] it being a smaller community it hits closer to home because everyone knows everyone,” the chief explained.
Statistics paint a picture of just how rampant drugs are in the rural area. Over the last 28 months, the Hohenwald Police Department has made more than 450 drug busts in a city of just 3,600 people.
“You know the old county saying that’s the proof in the puddin’, these guys are working, they are working hard.”
A partnership with the FBI has brought the small department more manpower and resources focused specifically on tackling the drug issue, but the chief says they need the community on board to assist.
“If we come together, being a small community, I feel like we can slow this down and we can actually beat it and I believe that. I’m open, my door is open come see me,” said the chief.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said they take a proactive stance to fight the war on drugs in the community. Information will remain anonymous and can be called into the department at (931)-796-5096.
Tennessee drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020 went up 45%, according to the department of health.