Chattanooga is a nice city at the southern border of Tennessee with over 160,000 citizens. But, unfortunately, this city also has a drug problem. There has been a spike in drug-related deaths in the whole country and Chattanooga is not an exception. There are several ways that people find themselves with a substance use disorder. For some people, drug abuse runs in the family. Other people try it out of peer pressure; others are simply curious. However, the only way out of the addiction disorder is through treatment for addiction.
How Do I Know If My Loved One Has a Drug Addiction?
Some physical and behavioral signs that your loved one has a drug addiction are:
- The person borrows, steals, or in general shows the desperate need for more money
- They go to several different doctors to get a prescription for the same medication
- Look through other people’s medicine cabinets when they have the chance
- Your loved one has a new set of friends
- They have trouble doing everyday things like cooking or preforming at their job
- The person experiences shaking, tremors, as/or slurred speech
Of the things listed, no single one is a certain indicator that your loved one is on drugs. However, if you notice some or all of these signs in your loved one’s life, it’s worth looking into. Some behaviors, like going to different doctors for the same prescription, shaking, tremors, and/or slurred speech should be looked into further. It might mean that your loved one is in some other trouble or is coming down with a condition that might require medical treatment.
How Many People Have Died of Drug Overdose in Chattanooga?
In 2018 there were over 1,400 drug overdoses that the authorities know of. As of July 9th, of 2019 there have been 200 more overdoses that the authorities know of. The actual number of overdoses and overdose deaths could be significantly higher as people are not likely to admit that their friend or loved one has overdosed or died of an overdose. In one instance, 4 people died from an overdose within 24 hours in Chattanooga.
What is Narcan?
The number of overdose deaths would be much higher if it were not for the drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Naloxone is an easy to administer medication that comes in both an injectable form and a nasal spray. Narcan, the nasal spray, is the easiest to carry around and use.
How Much Does Narcan cost?
Most first responders around the United States carry Narcan. It is also available over the counter in pharmacies across Tennessee. If you or a loved one uses illicit substances it is a good idea to carry Narcan with you. If you need Narcan you are unlikely to be able to use it on yourself but if someone is with your they can administer it for you. A generic Narcan kit, called naloxone, costs around $40 out of pocket. On brand, Narcan is significantly more expensive at around $130 for a two-dose kit.
What is the Good Samaritan Law?
The Good Samaritan Law protects people who call emergency services for someone who is experiencing an overdose. Different states have varying protections for the person calling emergency services. Tennessee has a Good Samaritan Law. One of the things required for the Good Samaritan Law is for the person calling emergency services to reasonably believe that the person they are calling emergency services for is experiencing an overdose. The amount of protection the Good Samaritan Law offers people varies greatly from state to state.
Yes. Sometimes it is because some drugs like fentanyl are so much cheaper to produce that they are the only drug in the package. Someone might think they are buying something like Percocet’s, but the only active ingredient in the pill is fentanyl.
Other times, it is because the dealer and/or their supplier wants to lower costs so they spike their product with a cheaper more addictive substance like fentanyl than what they say they are selling. The reason that they do this is so that the person taking the drug hopefully likes the new high and might buy the cheaper drug at the same price.
Do Suppliers Unintentionally Taint Drugs?
Sometimes when drugs like cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl are packaged, the table that the drugs are handled on is not cleaned off between batches of drugs. That means that drugs like these drugs can all end up mixing together. While a gram of cocaine might not be half heroin there could still be trace amounts in it. This can be deadly for someone who has no tolerance, such as someone who is just trying drugs for the first time, or someone who has only done a small amount before.
The Growing Dangers of Drugs Tainted With Fentanyl
Further problems are run into if the batch contains fentanyl. Morphine is derived from the opium poppy and used to treat pain in terminally ill cancer patients. Heroin is 3 times more potent than morphine, and fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
It only takes two milligrams of fentanyl to kill someone with no tolerance. That’s a dose the size of four grains of rice.
Someone who has a high tolerance for opioids can withstand a greater dose of fentanyl. Unfortunately, because it is so potent a greater dose is not physically much more. This means that people who have a fentanyl tolerance can also easily die if they take too much fentanyl either unknowingly through another drug or by measuring their own dose wrong.
Illicit Drug Manufacturing
Sometimes the pill someone is ingesting or the powder they are taking does not come directly from an organized gang. “There are pills that someone has made in their bathroom, in their basement, in their backyard and that’s one thing people need to understand, that sometimes you’re not getting what you think you’re getting,” said Erskine as a source for ABC Channel 9 News in Chattanooga, TN.
Sometimes people will mix different “inert” powders in a jar like baking soda, baby formula, and/or flour in a jar with fentanyl and shake it up before pressing it into pills or distributing it in small bags as heroin. Unfortunately, this can and often does not distribute the substances evenly. Often this can lead to an accidental overdose as someone might get too much of the fentanyl or other mixed in substance in one dose. Fentanyl and other opioids can only be reliably combined in a laboratory setting.
Are Opioids the Only Drug Problem in Chattanooga, TN?
Methamphetamine is also a popular drug in Chattanooga. It is cited as the third biggest drug threat to Tennessee by the National Drug Threat Assessment force in Tennessee. Most of the meth in Tennessee is thought to be produced and imported by Mexican cartels while the stereotypical home-based meth producer uses most of their own product themselves and only distribute to a few friends and family so that they can continue manufacturing the drug.
How Do I Know if My Loved one is Addicted to Meth?
Some warning signs that someone has a meth addiction are:
- Burns, especially on the fingers and around the lips
- Rotting teeth
- Extreme weight loss
- Skin sores
- Twitching and/or facial tics
These are some of the more visible signs of meth addiction to watch out for in your loved one.
Are There Long-Lasting Effects from Meth Abuse?
Unfortunately, there are some side effects to methamphetamine that are even more long-lasting than others. People who abuse meth are more likely to develop cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
The long-term effects of using meth include the following:
- Weight loss
- Severe dental problems
- Repetitive motor actives
- Violent behavior
- Weight loss
- Brain structure and function changes
- Mood disturbances
- Memory loss
How Do We Combat the Drug Problem?
Drug addiction and the destruction it brings are problematic in Chattanooga, TN and the rest of the country. Drugs are not only being imported from other countries, but the problems that come with drugs is also a home-grown issue as well.
Thankfully, we are here to help you at Crest View Recovery Center. It is never too late to start your new life, to start over and grow as a person. Just contact us today online or call us at (866) 350-5622