NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Drug overdoses are on the rise in Middle Tennessee, and the Metro Public Health Department is opting into a new program to help save lives.
The new text notification program would alert the public of spikes in overdoses. Public health officials hope the messages reach those who are at risk of suffering an overdose and their families when indications of increases in overdoses are recognized.
According to the Metro Health Department, drug overdoses continue to be reported across Nashville and Middle Tennessee. A spokesperson says more people have died of a drug overdose in the first 19 weeks of 2021 than in the same time period in 2020.
The total number of suspected fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses have remained largely in line with 2020 numbers, a year that saw more suspected overdoses and overdose deaths than any prior year.
The MPHD is one of five agencies in the U.S. and the only one in Tennessee participating in this pilot project developed by Partnership to End Addiction.
Here’s how it works: If an increase is detected, those who have opted in to receive text messages will receive an alert. Those who are interested in receiving text updates can text “SPIKE” to 1-855-963-5669 and fill out a form.
Resources for those in danger of a drug overdose are available. The Tennessee REDLINE (call or text 800-889-9789 ) offers information on addiction and referrals to all Tennessee citizens on request.