May 28, 2022 – The law goes into effect July 1, and cities, counties, recovery organizations, hospitals, schools, homeless service providers, jails, shelters, community groups and many other organizations will be free to prescribe and distribute naloxone and other drug rescue medications. Tennessee experienced a major overdose crisis during the chaos of the 2020 pandemic. Fatal drug overdoses increased by 45% between 2019 and 2020, according to Tennessee Department of Health statistics.

Roughly 80% involved synthetic and prescribed opioids. Roughly two thirds involved fentanyl, which can be especially lethal.  

“We see fentanyl more and more in the drug supply,” said Genoa Clark of Choice Health Network. “We see a lot of folks who are not necessarily opioid users or don’t think they’re using opioids dying because they weren’t expecting opioids at all, which is really scary.”