MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 Investigates obtained three years of data to uncover the face of drug overdoses in the city of Memphis.
According to that data, most of the victims are white men in their mid 30′s.
Documents obtained through an open records requests showed that 98 people lost their lives in 2019 to a drug over dose and the number of people saved from a drug overdose is almost 600.
Brian Sullivan with Turning Point said the data shows that the drug problem in Memphis has gotten worse.
“My God, it has gotten so much worse. We need to focus on how much it worse it could have been had we not put the efforts in place,” said Sullivan.
From 2017 through 2019, white men were the number one victims of drug overdoses with the average age of 37.
“You have people who are in the prime, sort of making their mark in the world so they are able to afford more illicit drugs,” said Sullivan.
So should taxpayer funded public warnings and public service announcements target more white men in their 30′s?
Sullivan said no.
“Because every single life important and addiction effects every single demographic every single economic group.”
The data also shows the efforts to combat illicit drug use ebbs and flows.
In 2017, the number of fatal overdoses was 107. The number dropped to 91 in 2018.
This year that number is on the rise and at 98, when we got these figures from November 9th
Sullivan said he thinks the reason it dropped and then rose back up is because of the rise in Fentanyl.
“I can almost guarantee there has been a rise of Fentanyl overdoses in Memphis.”
The Shelby County Health Department has made an investment in fighting the opioid problem in the Memphis and Shelby County.
In an email the director wrote, “One significant component of the Shelby County Opioid Response is prevention and education. The department has launched a significant media outreach campaign targeting all population groups with messages regarding the current opioid epidemic."
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