Knox County D.A says fentanyl is making its way to town from Detroit

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:16 AM EDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 8:26 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - According to the Knox County Sheriff’s office, a person from Detroit was arrested in Knoxville earlier this week for trying to buy almost three pounds of Fentanyl.

District Attorney Charme Allen said over the years, trafficking of fentanyl has tended to stem from Detroit.

“Knoxville is very connected to Detroit with the drug trade. We routinely see drugs brought into our community from the Detroit community. We usually see them brought down I-75, and the main drugs that we’re currently seeing brought in from Detroit right now are heroin and fentanyl,” shared Allen.

Allen believes the reason why fentanyl has come so hard onto the scene is that it is easier and cheaper to make and is more potent than heroin. The District Attorney also said law enforcement is now seeing almost everything laced with fentanyl, even pills marked to mimic narcotics.

“At this point, it is extremely dangerous out there in the drug community because you really do not know what you are taking. You may think it’s heroin, you may think that it’s oxycodone but in fact, it is laced with an enormous amount of fentanyl. All of that coming from and generated to a large extent in Detroit,” said Allen.

Karen Pershing with the Metro Drug Coalition said fentanyl started rapidly popping up in Knoxville back in 2016 and has become more and more prevalent since.

”There’s also a lot of fake pills out there made to look exactly like prescription medications but are actually fentanyl. So it’s a very dangerous situation. This is not the Fentanyl we produce medically,” shared Pershing.

According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, back in 2020 nearly 2,014 people died of a drug overdose related to fentanyl.

Pershing and Allen both say the type of fentanyl that is being bought and sold on the street is extremely potent.

“Fentanyl is a hundred times more potent than morphine, and Fentanyl is so potent that if you come into contact with Fentanyl powder you could overdose from merely coming into contact. As a matter of fact, we’ve had first responders who have overdosed on fentanyl. And just having come in contact with it during searches,” said Allen.

“Depending on what type of fentanyl analog it is, it can be anywhere between 10 times to 100 times more potent than heroin. So it’s extremely deadly. We’re seeing that some of our Naloxone administrations it can take six or seven doses in order to bring someone back if they’ve gotten fentanyl,” shared Pershing.

Pershing is urging parents to talk to their children and educate them about how deadly fentanyl can be, so that they will be discouraged to purchase street drugs.

”Unless it’s prescribed to them and a doctor has prescribed it, and a pharmacy has filled it they never need to take a pill of any kind that was not intended for them,” said Pershing.

For more help and tips on fentanyl and other drugs from the Metro Drug Coalition, click here.

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