NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new report from the Metro Nashville Health Department shines a light on a very dark subject — overdoses hitting a record high in Davidson County. The director of the overdose program told News 2 if something doesn’t drastically change, the city could see another record-breaking year.

The quarterly report revealed more than 700 people died in 2021 from a suspected drug overdose, the majority of them laced with fentanyl.

“It took my baby out of this world, literally she’s gone forever,” said Betty Davis, as she held the urn that holds her daughter’s ashes.

Back in March 2021, Davis’ daughter, Frankita Davis, died from a fentanyl overdose. Her mother came home to find her daughter dead inside her Nashville home. Davis told News 2 her daughter thought she was taking pain medication and had no idea the pill was laced with fentanyl.

“I am waiting for that day, when I get a call that says Miss Davis you know what, we’ve made an arrest in your daughter’s murder. Even though they didn’t shoot her with a gun, they gave her poison that killed her, and yes she may have chosen to take that pill, but she didn’t choose to die” explained Davis.

Nashville set an all-time high record for suspected overdose deaths. In Davidson County, the most frequent substance found in overdoses were fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Last year, the DEA launched a campaign warning the public about “fake pills” appearing to look like normal over-the-counter pain medication but is really a deadly combination waiting to strike.

“It takes the air out of me because again, those are not just numbers. We put faces to those numbers, and then maybe someone will pay attention,” explained Davis. “It’s scary, it’s terrifying to think that someone else is going to have to go through what I just went through.”

It’s been the focus of health departments and law enforcement for months now — the steady increase of fentanyl linked to overdoses across Middle Tennessee. Recently, the Metro Nashville Health Department launched a pilot program called Spike Alert to send out text alerts to certain communities in Davidson County, warning the public when there is a high number of overdoses happening within a specific area.

“These are the fatal overdoses, you really have to consider there are thousands of non-fatal overdoses that are also happening within the year. These are individuals in our community that need help, they need support, they have families” said Trevor Henderson, Director of the Overdose Response Program, with Metro Nashville Public Health.

Out of the 712 suspected overdose deaths, 74% of them had a deadly dose of fentanyl linked to it. Health officials say fentanyl is considered the main factor for the increase in people dying from drugs.

Now, the focus is on the new year. Headed into 2022, Henderson says the goal is always to slow the trend of overdoses across Davidson County, but it’s a task that is easier said than done.

“If that predictive model holds true going into 2022, again, we will see an escalation in the deaths unless something changes. By all means, we hope and pray that something does change,” explained Henderson.

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The Metro Nashville Health Department is encouraging anyone struggling with drug abuse, or have a loved one who is struggling, to contact the Tennessee RedLine either by phone or text. The RedLine is available 24/7 at 1-800-889-9789.