TN: Shelby County on track for over 400 fatal opioid-related overdoses

Fox 13 News –

According to the Shelby County Health Department, there have been 369 deaths this year compared to 343 in 2019.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Josh Weil is a regional overdose prevention specialist for Shelby County.

He said the numbers of opioid-related overdoses and deaths are getting worse here in Shelby County.

“We are going to surpass 400 fatal overdoses for the year,” Weil said.

According to the Shelby County Health Department, there have been 369 deaths this year compared to 343 in 2019.

Weil said fentanyl is the main problem, accounting for 98 percent of deaths.

Weil and the Street Team for Overdose Prevention will continue their fight against addiction Saturday at Howze Park.

He said a major part will be providing free Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.

“We give the spray,” he said. “We call 911 and this will actually get the opioids off of the receptors and get that person breathing again.”

Weil said access to detox centers will be available as well.

“They won’t have to go through the sickness,” he said. “It’ll be more comfortable than them trying to do it on their own and then get them into a treatment. Treatment has been tough to come by during the pandemic.”

Stacy Dodd, area Vice President of Operations at Vertava Health in Southaven, said the lack of addiction support these days can easily lead to relapse or new addictions.

“When people don’t have that support that they depend on and that they need many times the result is isolation, then depression and then sadly, many times addiction,” Dodd said.

Weil said tomorrow’s event is for everyone, even those who don’t struggle with addiction.

“The surgeon general has recommended that everyone have Narcan in their medicine cabinet,” Weil said. “Because it’s more likely now that you’ll run into an overdose than it ever has been.”

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