Tennessee police investigating 4 suspected drug overdose deaths that occurred within 24 hours

Police said toxicology tests were pending but the deaths involved illegal drugs.

June 12, 2019, 3:48 PM

Police in Tennessee believe there are “extremely dangerous” drugs being distributed in the city after they said four people overdosed in one day.

Chatanooga police said the suspected overdoses occurred within 24 hours from June 10-11. Toxicology tests in the deaths were still pending, according to police, but officers “determined the four deaths involve the use of illicit drugs.”

The police did not indicate what the drugs could have been.

“The number of overdose deaths in a short period of time is indicative of extremely dangerous drugs being sold and used,” police said.

A photo posted by police from the scene of an overdose in Chattanooga, Tenn., June 11, 2019.
Chattanooga Police Department

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke tweeted that the area was “experiencing a public health issue” following the suspected overdoses.

“Each one of these losses is a tragedy for the victims’ families and our community. We need to ensure more lives are not lost,” Berke said.

Tennessee had 1,776 drug overdose deaths statewide in 2017, with fatal overdoses increasing each year since 2013, according to the Tennessee Department of Health, which said the number was the highest since reporting began. The department also said that fatal overdoses in Hamilton County alone — in which Chatanooga is the largest city — had increased each year from 2013 through 2017, with 85 fatal overdoses reported in 2017.

Both Chattanooga police and Berke said that anyone who sees someone overdose should immediately call 911 and should not leave that person alone until emergency responders arrive.

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