Agencies work together to combat opioid crisis

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — After recent overdose deaths in Hamilton County, different agencies are coming together to figure out what they can do about the opioid crisis.

Inside the Hamilton County Coalition, they are gearing up to provide opioid reversal training.

“We work to prevent opioid overdose deaths and also just to increase information about opioids and the dangers that can exist,” said Camilla Bibbs, with the Hamilton County Coalition.

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They are coordinating a rapid response to the opioid epidemic after recent overdose deaths.

“Right now with the crisis that we had yesterday we are focused on trying to locate the survivors of the overdoses as well as their families and see if we can get them help,” said
Leslie Lay, the Program Coordinator of NuStart.

Officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded to four overdose deaths from Monday to Tuesday. Toxicology results are pending. Investigators say preliminary tests indicate it’s an opiate based substance.

Paul Fuchcar, the executive director of CADAS, says he is thinking of the families.

“There is just a tremendous amount of sadness that comes along with any person that succumbs to an addiction and ends up overdosing and dying. The second question we always ask is Why? What could we do differently what could we do better?” Fuchcar asked.

Detective Marty Dunn, with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, is also reacting to this situation.

“Anytime we see a large amount of overdoses like this, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously there are bad drugs, bad narcotics have been brought into this area and it is infecting our community. Affecting them in a bad way, but it is infecting them also,” Detective Dunn said.

Different agencies work to figure out if certain cases are related.

“Where you think there could be a relation to multiple overdoses, to maybe the same drug dealer. We work together to try to find who is dealing that particular drug out and prosecute them,” Detective Dunn said.

Back at the coalition, this week they’ll be offering several trainings and handing out free Naloxone to combat this problem.

There will be reversal trainings on Thursday at 3 p.m. and on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Hamilton County Coalition office.