NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new report from the Tennessee Department of Health shows a sharp increase in drug overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hospitals reported a 22% increase in opioid overdoses from 2019 to 2020. The study revealed an especially high rate of overdoses during the early months of the pandemic including May, June, and July.
From March to June of 2020, Tennessee saw a 33% increase in nonfatal opioid overdoses compared to March to June of 2019. Nonfatal overdoses for people between the ages of 18 to 44 increased by roughly 40%.
Much of the increased overdoses were related to illicit use of the drug fentanyl.
The study showed some promising news, including overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers decreasing. Tennessee doctors are writing fewer opioid prescriptions. Also, the state has seen an increase in buprenorphine prescriptions, a common drug used for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.
If you or someone you know needs substance abuse treatment, you can call or text the Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789.