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The Nashville Opioid Epidemic: A Rising Concern

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Opioids are a category of medication that embody prescription painkillers in addition to heroin. Whereas a few of these medicines may be prescribed by a health care provider, they may also be extremely addictive if used. As a result of not everybody will probably be fast to get opioid dependancy remedy, use can even come to a variety of different issues together with the chance of overdosing.  In Nashville, Tennessee, there have been a number of issues with these medicine which have solely gotten worse not too long ago.

The Lengthy-Standing Nashville Opioid Downside

The opioid disaster in Nashville and Tennessee as an entire has been an issue for the previous couple of many years. From 2005 to 2019, the whole variety of opiates detected by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab’s Forensic Chemistry Unit elevated from 3,224 to 7,408. Specifically, heroin and fentanyl skyrocketed in numbers throughout this time within the state.1

In Davidson County the place Nashville is situated, there was a median of 4.1 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 individuals in 2002. By 2018, this quantity jumped to 27.28 deaths per 100,000 individuals.2 The following yr in 2019, the opioid epidemic in Nashville reached what was on the time record-high ranges of a deadly drug overdose. 468 individuals misplaced their lives from a drug overdose with the bulk involving some sort of opioid.3 Sadly, issues didn’t cease there.

How The Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted Nashville’s Opioid Epidemic

Whereas the world might have pivoted to give attention to the coronavirus pandemic, the opioid epidemic in Nashville raged on. Though issues have been already on the rise, the coronavirus pandemic made issues worse and rather more determined.

In 2020, Nashville skilled a 32% improve in deadly drug overdoses.4 With 619 deaths, extra individuals in Nashville died of a drug overdose than COVID-19 in 2020.3 An alarming 80% of those drug overdoses confirmed traces of fentanyl, a robust opioid that’s 100 occasions stronger than morphine.4 This lethal drug has been rising in recognition within the final a number of years and is ceaselessly laced with different medicine like heroin or cocaine unbeknownst to the person.

One purpose individuals consider the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacted the opioid disaster in Nashville is as a result of it overshadowed it. With the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, consideration and well being sources have been redirected to deal with this quick concern. Lockdowns and social distancing are additionally believed to have elevated psychological well being issues which are usually linked to larger substance use. With extra restricted entry to dependancy and psychological well being care in Nashville, many individuals struggled to manage on their very own.

Combating the Nashville Opioid Epidemic

As opioid-related issues in Nashville elevated and life begins to return to pre-pandemic norms, efforts to fight the Nashville opioid disaster have elevated as nicely. Along with efforts by the state, native metropolis leaders are doing their half to attempt to enhance these numbers.

In January of 2021, the Nashville Hearth Division began reaching out to individuals who had skilled an opioid overdose just a few days after they’re launched from the hospital. The aim of those calls is to attempt to get these individuals to see a counselor. Those that agree will probably be transferred instantly to the Psychological Well being Cooperative.5

One other useful resource for the general public consists of the Tennessee REDLINE, a 24/7 hotline that gives up-to-date info on about dependancy in addition to referrals for care. The state has additionally invested in Naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose-reversing drug. Free kits and coaching could also be out there on the Nashville Prevention Partnership web site.6

At Vertava Well being Midtown Nashville, we need to do our half to assist fight the Nashville opioid epidemic. As a result of substance use and poor psychological well being are sometimes linked, these in want of assist for his or her psychological well being ought to search for care earlier than they’re tempted to show to medicine and alcohol. Our Nashville psychological well being professionals are right here that will help you really feel and be taught wholesome methods of dealing with life’s stressors. To get began or simply to be taught extra, contact us at the moment.



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