NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — News 2 took an inside look at the drug epidemic that’s plaguing the Music City. Illicit drugs, including cocaine and fentanyl, are getting into the hands of residents, and some of them are ultimately carrying a deadly dose.
Undercover detectives are on the front lines, come face to face with these dealers and say the most shocking part is the human toll drugs are taking.
The busy sounds of downtown pull people in, with music, lights and entertainment. However, there’s something dangerous lurking in every corner in the form of drugs and undercover officers see it all.
“It’s a deadly game of Russian roulette, you never know what you’re going to get,” said an undercover officer with the Metro Nashville Police Department.
It’s a deadly game with high stakes. The players include street drugs like cocaine, meth, and the king of them all, fentanyl.
In a sit-down interview with an undercover officer, News 2 asked him if there was a fentanyl problem in Nashville. He responded, “absolutely there is.”
The white substance — fentanyl — packs a deadly punch.
“These streets drugs that are often being possed as one thing, but is actually fentanyl are being mixed in crude machines like blenders and coffee grinders,” explained the undercover detective.
Those working as undercover narcotics detectives, an operation by Specialized Investigations Division, work to blend in and come face to face with dealers. Suprinsgly, dealers are eager to sell them the product.
“It just shows me how willing they are to make a dollar on somebody who could potentially be a fatal overdose victim the next day,” said an undercover detective.
This is all part of the Metro Nashville Police Departments’ continued investigation into drug sales downtown.
“We are finding that a lot of the dealers are local to Davidson County, to Nashville, but obviously the drugs have to come from somewhere. So, it’s part of our relentless pursuit to figuring out where these drugs are coming from, and to chase those drugs as far up the chain as we possibly can,” he said.
They are taking a hard look at what’s being sold on the street.
In May, the Metro arrested 14 men as part of this initiative. All of them are accused of selling undercover officers drugs.
“For one example, was presenting a drug saying it was cocaine and it tested positive for fentanyl and negative for cocaine and it absolutely could have been a fatal dose,” he explained.
The most common form of drugs police are finding, are disguised as prescription medication.
“Upwards of 40% of those counterfeit prescription pills contain a lethal dose or double, or triple a lethal dose of fentanyl for the average-sized adult,” he explained. “It would be very difficult for me to believe that they didn’t know what was in the product that they were selling. I believe they either know of or personally did mix the drugs or blend the drugs themselves. “
While nationally the country is trying to combat the drug epidemic, Nashville is in no way immune from its toll, which is why Metro police are trying to end it at the source.
“The most shocking is the human toll that it’s taking on our city. Last year, in 2021 725 people died from drug-related overdoses in Nashville, Davidson County alone, 725, and just to know behind every one of those victims that has passed away, there’s a family that’s grieving them, there are children that have lost parents, there are mothers who have lost son’s and daughters,” he said.
For those seeking treatment for drug addiction, the Community Overdose Response Team (CORT) can help. CORT is a free and confidential resource to help find drug and alcohol treatment for individuals who are at risk of an overdose. The service is offered free of charge regardless of health insurance status. The team works with an individual to determine the appropriate level of care. You can call CORT at 615-687-1701.