NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The opioid epidemic was center stage for years before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“It’s been kind of pushed to the back burner. but it’s still there, it’s still rampant, it’s still killing folks every day,” Davidson County Recovery Court Judge Gale Robinson said.

Robinson said 90% of his recovery participants drug of choice is opioids, whether that’s in pill form or heroin. But the problem lies in whether that is mixed with fentanyl even at the smallest dose.

“You can’t have quality control over heroin. You might get a shot of heroin that may have one percent fentanyl, you might get a shot that has 20 percent fentanyl and folks don’t know that they’re taking that,” Robinson said.

During the pandemic Robinson said there were lots of addicts that relapsed because of the isolation from society and resources.

“You can’t go to an AA or NA meeting and be with the folks that are in your shoes and trying to stay clean,” Robinson said.

So, he said overdoses were being seen in recovery court on a weekly basis.

“When you see someone that has done so well and had that one relapse and get a hot shot that has fentanyl in it and they’re gone,” Robinson said.

But also, during the pandemic there were plenty of addicts that entered recovery. So many that Robinson said a third parole officer was hired to help keep up with demand.

Click here for complete coverage of Tennessee’s Opioid Crisis.