CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Clarksville Police report that among 242 investigations of unattended deaths conducted in 2019 by the the department’s Special Operations Unit, 55 deaths are suspected to be related to drug overdoses, primarily Fentanyl.
So far, of those 55 deaths -- including suicides and homicides -- 17 have been confirmed with overdose as the primary cause of death. In 37 of the investigations, drugs or paraphernalia were found. Police are awaiting final results in the other 38 investigations, but strongly expect most of those will be overdose-related.
For 2019, opioid charges have shown a significant uptick, almost doubling to 109, up from 59 in 2018, and 25 in 2017.
Marijuana-related charges were still the most prevalent drug-related offense with 985, down from 1,080 in 2018 and 1,286 in 2017. Crack and cocaine charges were very similar to previous years, with 67 crack charges in 2019, up from 60 in 2018 and 64 in 2017. The department saw 65 cocaine charges in 2019, up from 55 in 2018 and 55 in 2017.
The death toll likely would be much higher if not for law enforcement and emergency responders carrying and administering naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.
CPD reports its officers administered naloxone 147 times in 2019. In some cases, it’s been given to repeat opioid users four to six times. It’s not unusual for those administered naloxone to decline transport for medical treatment. Additionally, in accordance with current laws, drug-related charges are not levied when emergency responders, including law enforcement, are called to assist with an overdose patient.
The goal of the Clarksville Police Department is to reduce drug-related overdoses through aggressive drug interdiction and prosecution of those providing narcotics to the victims. The department will continue to pursue criminal charges whenever sufficient evidence and cooperation are available.