According to Metro police, heroin seizures are up almost 50 percent in Nashville from this time last year.
E.R. doctors at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center say they haven’t seen heroin abuse this bad in more than 20 years.
Dr. Ian Jones has worked at the hospital for nearly two decades and says even just a little bit of heroin can kill.
“IV heroin is very unpredictable. The first few years I was here, we would see a heroin overdose maybe a few times a year,” Dr. Jones said. “We are now seeing it more frequently, perhaps once a month.”
Dr. Jones said those who overdose on heroin tell him they used to abuse prescription medications, but the pills became too expensive and the highs didn’t last as long.
Metro undercover officers are hearing the same stories from former pill abusers they bust.
“They are getting a cheaper and longer lasting high [from heroin],” an undercover detective said. “The trend is not so much more heroin, it’s that we have a higher volume of users.”
Metro police shared exclusive photos of a recent heroin bust that went down in a local parking lot.
Agents said they watched two teenagers connected to a major supplier out of Texas who goes by the name Gustavo.
When Metro agents saw the 17-year-olds trade a long gun for heroin, they moved in.
The teens took them to a location where police discovered more heroin, 30 grams, packaged in party balloons.
Police are now actively looking for the Texas man known as Gustavo who is pushing heroin into a city that was never known for heroin.
“It is concerning because Nashville has not been a city with a very high use of heroin use in the past,” Dr. Jones said. “And there are other cities where it is a major concern and I’m afraid it is going to be a major concern here.”
Metro police are asking the public for help to shut down the Texas distributor. He is described as a Hispanic man from the Austin area, only known on the streets as “Gustavo.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.