DICKSON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A disturbing number of people have died from an overdose in a short period of time. The situation is so bad, it prompted the Drug Enforcement Agency to issue a public safety alert.
The opioid epidemic sadly is nothing new. Thousands have died. But every once in a while, there is a disturbing spike in fatalities - several at once - in a short span of time.
Lucas Kimbro was only 25 years old when he died earlier this month from an overdose in Dickson. His girlfriend Kylie Clark found him and called paramedics who tried to save Kimbro with Narcan doses.
"They used five," said Clark.
But it didn't work.
"She basically said he's gone... he had no pulse," said Kimbro's aunt Tammy Jones.
Clark and Jones said Kimbro would occasionally take a Percocet or hydrocodone, but this last time he took a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl.
Dickson police confirm they are working on several overdose cases.
Kimbro's family says he is one of eight such deaths there in just the past three weeks, all under the age of 26.
"It's horrible. A kid at his funeral just passed away yesterday morning," said Clark.
Now the DEA has issued a nationwide alert as dealers flood some cities with even more counterfeit pills.
"It's easier for them to get their own plant and stamp out the pills, put the label on and they appear to be real," said former DEA agent Calvin Higgins.
Kimbro simply did not know what he was getting and the fentanyl killed him.
"I just want people to know it does happen, it is very real," said Clark.
The DEA reports at least two out of every five pills are laced with deadly fentanyl and for the moment that ratio seems to be much higher in cities like Dickson.
It's taking lives at an alarming rate.
The DEA reports seizing nearly 10 million counterfeit pills so far this year - more than the past two years combined.