“We do have something today to talk about that impacts all of us. Unfortunately, if I were at a church talking to a church group, we’d be saying the same thing, because what we’re talking about today impacts us all,” Hambrick said.
He said opioid abuse is prevalent in the country, state, county and Mt. Juliet.
“It has no boundaries as it relates to a social or economic standing. No barriers as it relates to race, church affiliation or anything like that. It’s real and prevalent in Mt. Juliet and Wilson County,” he said.
Hambrick said Mt. Juliet has seen several overdose deaths in recent years as drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the country. Hambrick said there were about 52,000 in 2015, with about 20,000 related to prescription pain relief and about 13,000 related to heroin.
“We know we’ve been on some calls where individuals still have the needle in their arm. People are crying out for help. They need help,” said Hambrick, who said he believes the 2016 figures will show an increase in deaths.
Hambrick said another danger people don’t think about is leftover prescription pills in homes. He said any medication that won’t be used in the future should be disposed of, noting the Mt. Juliet police station has a collection bin in their lobby.
He said officers have to be more careful now when dealing with drugs because the dangers of accidental exposure to drugs, such as fentanyl, has increased dramatically.
Hambrick said the number individuals making their own pills – many of which contain deadly fentanyl – and selling them as others has increased recently, as well. He said the department is committed to taking down drug dealers and getting help for those who need it.
“Our goal is to certainly get people the help they need,” he said. “We’re committed as the Mt. Juliet Police Department. I’m committed as your police chief to trying to get folks help.”