NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Public Health officials react after receiving data showing a startling spike in overdoses at area hospitals.
According to Trevor Henderson, Director of Opioid Response and Reduction Programs for the Metro Public Health Department, on Tuesday the agency was notified of an alarming spike in overdoses at all hospitals in Nashville.
According to Henderson, the alert was for March 18th which marked the single highest one-day spike this year. According to data, for all hospitals in Metro, a total of 19 overdose cases came into emergency rooms.
Henderson tells News 2, seven overdoses at area hospitals would have been more normal. Nineteen overdoses on a single day is almost three times higher than anticipated and is cause for pause.
Henderson says of the 19 overdoses, there were no reported fatalities.
“Fortunately we did not see a large spike in deaths on that same day. However, this does put us on alert.”
According to experts, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the spike. Henderson says it could be a one-day anomaly. He also admits it could be the result of more people receiving their stimulus check from the federal government and having more cash to buy more drugs.
“It’s not unusual if somebody who is living with addiction has extra resources, they might use it for this,” Henderson said. “That’s not exactly surprising.”
Health experts tell News 2, the one-day spike could also be a result of a more lethal batch of heroin or fentanyl reaching area streets.
“You look at things like fentanyl in particular at the end of 2020. Over 80% of our deaths involved fentanyl at that point in time,” Henderson said. “The year before that it was around 60% so it is truly frightening.”
Adding to the overdose problem, more drugs appear to be coming into America from Mexico. A drug supervisor with the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force tells News 2 that interdictions of large drug seizures is way up.
According to the task force, in all of 2020, the agency made 24 major cases. A major case being multiple kilos seized from drug suspects. So far, in the first two and a half 2021, the agency has made 16 major cases.
Agent tells News 2, it appears more drug shipments from Mexican cartels are getting into Middle Tennessee.