NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Health released its 2021 Annual Overdose Report which detailed statistics showing overdose deaths at an all-time high in 2020.
The state’s 200-page digital report shows fentanyl is killing more and more Tennesseans year to year.
“The thing about fentanyl is how cheap it is to buy and how addictive it is,” said Josh Love, epidemiologist for Metro Nashville Public Health. “That combination right there really puts us at a disadvantage in public health.”
According to statistics from the TDH, there was a 22% increase in opioid overdoses from 2019 to 2020. Love says Davidson County and Nashville are seeing similar surges.
“We also saw more than 30% increase compared to 2019,” said Love. “It’s also notable that 2019, at that point, was our deadliest year on record compared to the previous year.”
Research by Tennessee health officials says the age group seeing the highest spike in overdose deaths is those ages 25 and 44.
Love says there is no sign of those numbers turning back.
“By all accounts, I expect it to continue on an upward trajectory,” Love explained. “We haven’t seen it go down since we started measuring overdose activity. Since about 2016, is when kind of our time range begins for most of our data analysis. So we fully expect this to continue upward.”
The report shows Davidson County as one of the most concentrated areas for overdoses in the state.