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Chattanooga Mom Says Son Victim to Rising Overdose Deaths in Our Area

By Eric Price

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) — Chattanooga has seen a rise in overdose deaths, something one mother we spoke with can attest to.

Investigators say the deaths are fentanyl related. The Hamilton County Coalition is trying to change this statistic.

As CPD puts out a warning about this spike in overdose deaths, the Hamilton County Coalition says many who overdose don’t know their drugs contain fentanyl that could be deadly.

The coalition says it's a strong contributor to these increased deaths.

Debra Clark says her son Timothy Clark overdosed on a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl just a few years ago.

"I said, Chris, where is he? And he said, 'he didn't make it, mama.' And all I remember is saying 'no, no,'" said Clark.

She doesn’t know if her son was aware of the fentanyl to this day.

But, Vanessa Spotts with the Hamilton County Coalition says many are in the same position as Clark's son Timothy.

"They don't understand that the individual that is actually mixing that substance is not a chemist," said Spotts.

Spotts works closely with CPD and says that the police department sent out a warning because it gets people asking questions.

"There are a lot of people who think they don't need to have this information," said Spotts.

Without knowledge of the dangers fentanyl and other narcotics, Spotts says this trend could increase.

AJ Morrow with Harmony Oaks Recovery Center agrees.

"Chattanooga Police Department cannot battle this alone," said Morrow.

But, Clark says this education could’ve possibly saved her son.

"They need to realize that they need to be prepared, my family wasn't," said Clark.

She says its a good start that a warning was issued, but wants more education to be pushed.

"Watch your family members, you need to make sure that they understand the risks," says Clark.

Spotts also adds fentanyl isn’t just mixed with narcotics. She’s seen cases of it popping up in marijuana as well.

Education for families and those struggling with addiction can be found by contacting the Hamilton County Coalition.

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