More than a dozen people died from opioid overdoses in Shelby County in two weeks

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The numbers are alarming. In just two weeks, thirteen people have died due to opioid overdoses in Shelby County. Seven of them died right around Thanksgiving.

Dr. Ted Bender with Turning Point says the holidays can be a difficult time for many in recovery or trying to get sober.

“Disruptions in daily routine is one. When you have some time off from work, or there are holiday parties. Also feelings of loneliness or emptiness can be present,” said Dr. Bender. “Also, you’re more likely to be around people who are using alcohol or drugs at holiday parties.”

The Shelby County Health Department says 77 percent of the deaths were in the Memphis city limits. And 62 percent were white men. When it comes to black and white women, they were equally affected at 15 percent.

The average age ranges between 30 and 39.

“After meeting with the Memphis Police Organized Crime Unit today, they stated that the majority of the opioid deaths that they’re seeing in Memphis and Shelby County are pills that are being pressed on the street and laced with fentanyl,” Dr. Bender said.

He said there is hope that these numbers don’t keep rising.

“The plan through the government, Congress and the Senate is to reduce the flow of fentanyl in the United States by 70 percent. So that could make a big impact immediately. But it’s very difficult because it’s just coming in through the mail, and a lot of it is coming from China.”

Turning Point is also being proactive and rolling out a new initiative this week called “Another Chance.”

“What we’re doing with that is getting cards in the hands of first responders, police officers, precincts and encouraging them to give this card out after someone has been resuscitated from Narcan,” said Dr. Bender.

If you or someone you know is dealing with drug addition, call Addition Campuses. Their number is 1-888-614-2251 or visit their website.

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