ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was a deadly week in Cheatham County, with three suspected fentanyl overdose deaths in just seven days.

“You’re looking at a small town, a small county like Cheatham County, and to date [in 2022] we’re already at approximately 40 overdoses and 10 fatalities for the year,” explained Narcotics Officer Lt. Shannon Heflin.

The pressing problem can be seen plainly in black and white — people are dying and Heflin feels it’s far from over.

“Will there be more deaths? Absolutely.”

The synthetic drug, highly addictive and extremely deadly, has permeated Middle Tennessee from a pipeline that leads back to the border.

“The information that we received is that the fentanyl is all coming out of Mexico,” Heflin said as the cartel shifts its strategy. “What we’re seeing is more fentanyl on the streets than there is heroin.”

Fentanyl brings a guaranteed return on the investment.

“What they’ve figured out is they can produce fentanyl 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and make all this profit out of it and not have the hassle of having to grow something in the field,” Heflin explained.

Making arrests is an uphill battle for law enforcement who work around the clock investigating these crimes.
The question remains, when and how will this deadly trend end?

“Wow that’s a good question,” Heflin responded. “I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t think anybody knows that answer right now.”

Stories like these, Heflin added, make a difference by educating communities about the dangers circulating among them and serve as a reminder for dealers.

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“If you’re a drug dealer, it’s our mission to put you in prison and hold you accountable,” Heflin said. “And if they die [from an overdose], we’re going to charge you with second-degree murder.”