TDH report: Overdoses surged during pandemic

Local News

FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

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.   

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss