The overdose crisis shows little sign of abating in Nashville. The fire department says it has administered the overdose reversal drug Narcan to 1,036 patients already this year, a 23% increase over the same point in 2018.
In June, the Nashville Fire Department used naloxone, the generic name of Narcan, on 224 patients, with some needing multiple doses. The rise in Narcan came amid a spate of suspected overdose deaths, believed to be the result of fentanyl-laced heroin.
"Right now, it's not an encouraging sign," says Trevor Henderson, Nashville's opioid response coordinator. "We are not seeing numbers drop like you're seeing in some other areas."
Nationally, overdose deaths fell last year for the first time in decades. But in Nashville, the figure continued to tick up to nearly one a day. And statewide, the figure reached another record at 1,776.
But the news on Narcan is not entirely grim. Henderson believes the increased use of the reversal drug could mean people are more willing to call 911 whenever there's a suspected overdose.
"That's me hoping that's part of the case," he says, "that the message has gotten out there."