NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A deadly trend in Nashville has law enforcement on high alert, as the city prepares for hundred of visitors for the holiday weekend. Dangerous drugs are being sold on the streets, downtown especially.
“Never would have thought fentanyl would be as prevalent as it is now,” said Monti Herring, a Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist with STARS.
Drug overdoses are a problem Herring says his department is seeing pop up across Middle Tennessee. It is no secret that there has been an increase in drugs laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl.
To aid in the opioid problem, legislators recently passed a bill that makes fentanyl test strips no longer considered to be drug paraphrenia. Herring explained it’s just one of the ways to help fight the epidemic.
“Individuals who are putting fentanyl in their product, they’re not measuring it out, so it’s not evenly distributed in their product. So, even though an individual may have fentanyl test strips and they test a portion of the product they’re using, they may get a negative result because it wasn’t evenly distributed,” explained Herring.
Over the past week, the Metro Nashville Police Department arrested nine men in the local area. According to police, undercover detectives have been working hard to catch these criminals selling drugs ranging from cocaine, marijuana, and in some cases bags of fentanyl. Herring says for some addicts, the more potent the drug, the better.
“Individuals who purposely put fentanyl in their products, they know their clients, they know their clientele, they know who is buying their product. If word gets out four people or three people overdosed on this particular product from this person that’s where a lot of people are going gravitate to because it’s potent,” Herring said.
As hundreds are expected to travel to the Music City for Memorial Day Weekend, drugs and crime are on the mind of some.
“We would like to see more businesses, more bars, more music venues be willing to have naloxone or Narcan on their premises or on their property and or staff that are trained so that as people come to Nashville we want them to have a good time, but if something happens, but if someone overdoses, we would like to have that staff and have them have Narcan,” said Herring.
STARS is holding its first Annual community celebration in hopes of community resources and interactive activities. The event is set for June 11 and will be held at the Youth Opportunity Center in the back parking lot, located at the corner of 17th Avenue and Charlotte Avenue. The hope is to connect, educate and spread awareness of the different resources available to the community.
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 (e.g., detox, residential, or outpatient treatment, etc.). To make a referral or learn more about this resource for our community, call CORT at 615-687-1701.