Nashville seems to have had an increase in the number of overdoses since March, according to statistics the city’s Metro Public Health Department provided Tuesday.
Mid-March was right around the same time that local, state, and federal officials in the United States first restricted people’s movements and other freedoms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of overdose deaths for March, April, and May of this year are substantially higher than March, April, and May of last year, according to the Metro Public Health data.
Metro Public Health spokesman Brian Todd, in an email with The Tennessee Star Tuesday, would not explain why he thinks the numbers went up or even if COVID-19 even indirectly prompted those deaths.
“There has been an increase of overdose deaths in Nashville since the beginning of March. That’s when we had the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Nashville,” Todd said.
“What follows are those that are currently ‘suspected’ overdoses or provisional data for 2020 and the confirmed number for 2019. The 2020 numbers are suspected until the Medical Examiner’s office receives the toxicology reports which can take up to 12 weeks.”
According to the numbers Todd provided, Nashville tallied the following number of overdose deaths in March, April, and May of 2020 and March, April, and May of 2019:
• March 2019: Exactly 24 cases
• March 2020: Exactly 38 cases
• April 2019: Exactly 20 cases
• April 2020: Exactly 45 cases
• May 2019: Exactly 13 cases
• Mary 2020: Exactly 24 cases (as of May 20)
“There has been a clear increase in overdose deaths since the start of when Nashville began seeing cases of COVID-19,” Todd said.
“We encourage anyone struggling with addiction to call the Tennessee Redline at 800-889-9789 for help.”
As The Star reported earlier this month, Shelby County has had a similar increase in drug overdoses since COVID-10 hit the United States. The Shelby County Health Department monitors drug overdose activity through first responder organizations and a database called ODMAP.
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