3 Tennessee Teens Overdosed and 2 Died. Now the Survivor Is Charged With Murder.

Overdose deaths proceed to rise, however hurt discount advocates say criminalizing drug use gained’t save lives.

An estimated 109,680 individuals died of a drug overdose in 2022. Police and coverage makers in any respect ranges of presidency spent billions of {dollars} over the previous decade trying to include this disaster, however 2022 noticed the best loss of life toll on report, with fatalities exceeding 100,000 for the second yr in a row.

Social stigma and police push drug use out of view. Each loss of life is a human being and their story, a darkish house the place private tragedy and public coverage collide. On Could 16, tragedy and coverage met in rural Fayette County, Tennessee, the place a highschool pupil survived a drug overdose solely to be charged with the homicide of her mates, in accordance with native reviews.

Earlier this week, three teenagers, ages 16 and 17, overdosed whereas getting excessive within the car parking zone of a local high school close to Somerville, Tennessee. Two didn’t survive, however a 3rd was hospitalized and in steady situation as of Wednesday, in accordance with information reports. The surviving pupil was charged with second-degree murder for the loss of life of her companions.

No less than one mum or dad has suggested his daughter used cocaine that was minimize with fentanyl, the artificial opioid concerned in a majority of drug deaths. Police additionally suspect the women used cocaine contaminated with fentanyl. Like cocaine, fentanyl also can seem as a white powder however delivers highly effective sedative results. Police sometimes don’t launch the identities of minors, and Truthout is withholding names reported within the media out of respect for the households.

Two younger individuals misplaced their lives and a 3rd may now lose valuable years of her life to the state of Tennessee, the place a single counterfeit pill containing an artificial opioid reminiscent of fentanyl may end up in a homicide cost if allegedly linked to an unintended overdose loss of life. Youngsters might be tried as adults for main crimes in Tennessee, and no determination has been made about whether or not to cost the lady as an grownup, in accordance with NBC Information. Prosecutor Mark Davidson instructed native media the homicide expenses had been initially filed in juvenile courtroom.

Jeremy Sharp, the southern regional coordinator for College students for Smart Drug Coverage, a student-led group that engages younger individuals in overdose prevention training, stated it’s very seemingly the three women mistakenly believed they had been solely sharing cocaine.

“Now her mates, her friends, they don’t seem to be coming again, and he or she is simply sitting there, and he or she is aware of she didn’t do that on objective,” Sharp stated in an interview with Truthout. “I’ve misplaced individuals to the very same scenario; it’s going to repeat itself till we get it proper.”

Sharp added that 50 million Americans are estimated to have used cocaine, and the results are nearly by no means this stiff. Sharp and different pupil activists distribute fentanyl test strips and educate individuals the best way to take a look at their cocaine, a standard technique of hurt discount at events and school campuses.

“That is going to occur. Loss of life by distribution legal guidelines — it’s not a deterrence, particularly for drug use,” Sharp stated. “What we want are insurance policies that promote well being, and understanding that every one kinds of individuals get into dependancy, however in a small city, the assets they’ve are few and restricted.”

Federal information present enormous racial disparities in overdose deaths that advocates attribute to huge gaps in entry to well being care and hurt discount providers. Sharp stated comparable disparities might be present in rural white communities, particularly within the South.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Division has not responded to a request for info. The division is investigating the incident with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

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