NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) put out a Spike Alert over the weekend after three people in the Hermitage community died from suspected drug overdoses.
So far, in the first 11 months of 2021, officials report 678 overdose deaths — approximately two overdose deaths every day in Nashville.
“It is the unfortunate reality of what we are dealing with,” said Josh Love, an MPHD epidemiologist.
Love told News 2 the Spike Alert was issued at the prompting of Metro Police who reported three suspected overdose deaths in a 24-hour period in the Hermitage area.
“Working with our partners at the police department, they became privy to info, and said here is a situation, we think it would be good to activate the Spike program for this,” Love said.
This is the sixth time MPHD has issued this stark warning in the last six months.
“Given the specific geographic area and the time range mentioned, three overdose deaths in a specific community in a 24-hour period was enough for them to reach out to us and get the spike alert out,” Love said.
According to Love, Davidson County is the only county in Tennessee, and one of only five cities in the United States, currently taking part in the Spike Alert text program that alerts subscribers when there is an increase in fatal or non-fatal overdose activity.
“Our program believes providing more information to the public will down the line mitigate further harm in the community,” Love said.
Love told News 2, 678 overdose deaths is a 16% increase compared to the same time period last year.
“It is looking like 2021 will have the most overdose deaths on record in Davidson county,” Love added.
According to MPHD officials, more than 75% of all overdose deaths involve fentanyl.
If you are interested in signing up for the Spike Alerts offered by MPHD, text the word: SPIKE to 855-9-OD-KNOW or (855) 963-5669.