Opioid crackdown leading to spike in other drugs - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Opioid crackdown leading to spike in other drugs

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Prescription drug use in Tennessee has been widespread for several years but as painkillers become harder to get, addicts are turning to other drugs to fuel their addiction.

“The counterfeit pills, the heroin and fentanyl. We're seeing upticks in cocaine. Cocaine is coming back with a pretty good vengeance and seizures of meth have never been higher,” said TBI Special Agent-in-Charge Tommy Farmer.

Farmer says many of the drugs are being brought into the country from Mexico.

Heroin is making a comeback because it’s cheaper and easier to get.

Investigators are seeing drugs laced with other substances, like fentanyl, a powerful painkiller.

“You don't know what you're getting in terms of the drug and you don't know what you're exposing yourself to in terms of using and doing the drug,” said Farmer.

Farmer stresses that it only takes small amounts, like a sprinkling of powder, to make someone overdose.

“You're going to kill your neighbor, you're going to kill your loved one thinking that you’re partying and you’re having a good time. You're going to kill them is what you're going to do,” Farmer told Channel 3.

READ MORE | Tennessee AG, prosecutors clash over local opioids lawsuits

Heroin use is rising fast in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the number of patients seeking treatment from state facilities for heroin abuse more than doubled from 2014 to 2016.

Channel 3 will continue to look into this growing problem.

Friday night, we’ll share the story of a recovering heroin addict who hopes his very personal experience can help others struggling with drugs.

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