Nashville officials have recorded more fatal drug overdoses in the first nine months of 2020 than they did in all of 2019.
This, according to a press release that members of the Metro Public Health Department emailed late last week.
As The Tennessee Star reported in May, Nashville, at the time, had an increase in the number of overdoses since March. 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.
“As of October 9, 2020, Nashville-Davidson County had recorded 477 fatal drug overdoses since the beginning of the year. In the entirety of 2019 authorities recorded 468 fatal drug overdoses, the highest ever recorded in a year,” according to Metro Health.
“An increasing percentage of fatal drug overdoses include the substance Fentanyl, an opioid often added to other drugs to increase their potency. Fentanyl can be 50-100 times as potent as Morphine. In 2020, Fentanyl has been found in 79.4 percent of fatal drug overdoses where toxicology reports have been completed.”
Metro Public Health Department officials said in the press release that they are putting together an Acute Overdose Response Plan to prepare for large-scale overdose events. This includes coordinating first responders, hospitals, prevention specialists and other agencies and organizations.
“The Acute Overdose Response Plan was activated during the week of October 6 after a report from the Davidson County Medical Examiner alerted the MPHD Overdose Response and Reduction Program of an increase in fatal overdoses connected to a specific white powdery substance,” the press release said.
“Approximately 25 percent of fatal drug overdoses that occurred between September 1 and October 15 involved a white powdery substance. Upon activation of the Acute Overdose Response Plan, 30 internal and external partners were notified of the report, and several prevention partners were provided details to adjust efforts in areas of specific concern.”
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