MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you get pain pills from anywhere other than your local pharmacy, you may want to think twice before taking them.
Authorities said the number of people found unconscious and then rushed to the emergency room, after taking fake Percocet, is increasing in Middle Tennessee.
Nearly a dozen overdoses have occurred in Rutherford County. Of those, one person died.
News 2 spoke with Tyler Bowman who said he knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom.
“I’ve been to the lowest places,” Bowman said. “I know what it’s like to struggle and to feel like you need something to cope with life.”
The former baseball player suffered an injury and was strung out on pain pills and heroin for years.
“I learned quick that the quick fix was to continue taking the pills, so I wouldn’t have to go through the symptom of withdrawal,” he said.
Bowman said he isn’t surprised to hear about the increasing number of drug overdoses in Middle Tennessee.
“These people are already miserable, they are empty, they are a hollow shell and they don’t know who they are anymore and they are overdosing because they are just trying to make it through,” Bowman said. “It really just breaks my heart.”
In Murfreesboro alone, there have been 10 patients rushed to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital for drug overdoses in recent days, and at least one death, according to police.
“The addict overdoses, their friends hear about it and they want the same drug because in their mind it’s supposed to be good stuff,” Bowman said. “That’s just the addict mentality. That’s how they think when they are in active addiction.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now warning people about fake Percocet pills being sold on the streets.
“There’s a very serious, immediate danger to taking any kind of pills other than what you get from your pharmacy,” TBI spokesperson Susan Niland said.
The pills are being manufactured in clandestine labs and made to look like the real thing.
“Some of these elements contained within these drugs can be lethal and can be potentially deadly and these people that are taking them honestly don’t know what they are taking,” Niland said.
TBI drug agents are not sure what the Percocet pills are laced with, but back in May of last year, a law enforcement agency confiscated several oxycodone pills during a traffic stop.
Those pills turned out to be counterfeit and contained fentanyl, a pain killer 50 times more potent as heroin, according to the TBI.
Murfreesboro police said they are investigating each one of these overdose cases, first to see if they are connected, and then try to find the person who is selling the fake pills on the streets.
Bowman has been drug-free for two years and he hopes people will get the message.
“We have drug dealers that are on the streets killing people to make profit,” Bowman said.
Bowman now works for Waters Edge Recovery, and is planning to have a Drug Epidemic Town Hall Meeting at Lane Agri-Park in Murfreesboro on September 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The purpose for Town Hall is to give drug users options and help them find the resources they need to become drug free.