CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The use of fentanyl is on the rise, as well as its often-deadly consequences. A parking lot, a gas station, or even a park are just some of the places in Cheatham County where an overdose can occur.
“We probably average three to four overdoses a week, I would say,” said Lt. Shannon Heflin.
Over the last three years, Heflin has watched fentanyl slowly creep into the county.
“Our numbers for overdoses this year are probably 150 (to) 160 overdoses, with 15 that led to death investigations,” he said.
Heflin, who has spent the last 27 years working for the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office, said this drug is becoming popular in the county.
“We do have a lot of addicts,” he said. “Well, these addicts, they go to Nashville to get their product, and that’s probably about 80 to 90% where all of our heroin and fentanyl is coming from.”
While Heflin is out on the streets, Chelsey Wright with the Cheatham County Community Enhancement Coalition is working to provide Narcan to residents.
“In a three month period, I gave out about 30 kits for Cheatham County specifically,” she said.
Once a month, Wright holds a training session where she teaches people about Narcan and provides them with the medication, all for free.
“People are going to use drugs whether we want them to or not, so if we want them to stay alive long enough to go into long-term recovery, that is what naloxone is here for,” she said. “That’s what harm reduction is here for because being realistic, not everyone is just ready and able to quit.”
According to Wright, the organization provides these kits to law enforcement and other agencies, but also sees family members and business owners.
“Resources are available to you,” she said. “Don’t feel like you’re alone. Don’t feel like just because no one wants to talk about it doesn’t mean it’s not there, because it is and we are seeing that in overdose reports.”
Fentanyl is a sad reality in Cheatham County, but there are plenty of people working to help those impacted by this drug.
“I do take it very personal to try and get justice for victim’s families,” said Heflin.
Wright is the regional overdose prevention specialist for Cheatham, Montgomery, Dickson, Stewart, Humphreys, Sumner, Houston, and Robertson counties. She provides free training and kits for all these counties once a month.
If you live in one of these counties and are interested in attending one of Wright’s free training classes, click here to learn more.
You can also find more information about regional overdose prevention specialists across Tennessee by following this link.