NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Every day, somewhere in Nashville, people meet in parking lots to buy drugs like heroin and pills, sometimes shooting up right then and there in the very places you shop with your family.
News 2 rode along with Metro police’s narcotics unit to see what’s really happening.
It was 9 a.m. on a normal work day in Nashville when we went for a ride-along with the agents checking parking lots looking for suspicious activity.
“We set up surveillance trying to see deals being made,” said Lt. Mitch Furher.
We went to Hermitage where drug officers saw women they say were acting suspiciously in a vehicle parked on the side of a gas station.
“People inside of a vehicle snorting illegal substances,” Furher told News 2.
A check of the SUV revealed more than a dozen syringes.
News 2’s Andy Cordan asked one of the people inside, “What were you doing here?”
The woman replied, “I can’t really lie. You know what we doing out here.”
The needles belonged to a 22-year-old Rutherford County woman.
“I don’t like to reuse needles. That is why I have a lot of them. They are used for heroin and cocaine,” she said.
The young lady, who doesn’t want to be identified, seemed intelligent and sincere.
Cordan asked, “Were you thinking about using?” She said yes.
The self-described addict was fidgety and nervous.
“You are literally grabbing the devil by the horns,” she told News 2.
The woman told Cordan she is so addicted to heroin and it consumes her thoughts.
“Aren’t you scared? Isn’t it frightening?” Cordan asked.
“Yeah, it is,” she said, telling us she has lost her family. “They don’t barely talk to me anymore.”
The woman said she has lost her dignity, and when asked how she feels, she said, “I am sad and disappointed in myself.”
The young woman has all but lost her life. She said she was hooked the first time she took the drug, the very first hit.
As Cordan spoke with her, he noticed the 22-year-old’s skin was covered with bruises, scabs, and new track marks where she said she injects heroin into her body.
“This is a track mark. All this is from picking, I guess, from doing meth,” she explained. “You are so high you don’t realize that is what you are doing to yourself.”
“My skin is so messed up. You keep thinking, I’m not worth anything anymore, so I might as well get high,” she continued.
The other woman in the SUV told News 2 she doesn’t use heroin anymore, but she used to.
“Do you think you would start using again?” Cordan asked.
“I think maybe if this wouldn’t have happened, that could have happened,” she said.
She’s 21 years old and notably bright, saying she went to school in Williamson County.
“Do you do heroin?” News 2 asked. “No, I am clean,” she replied.
She told News 2 she had an addiction to opioids she began abusing in high school.
“They were around and some people got addicted and some didn’t,” she explained.
And finally, amid the conversation, the first woman who admitted to using cocaine and heroin said, “I want to get my life together and get my family back. That drug literally took my life.”
Metro drug officers say they offer rehabilitation and counseling resources to every drug offender they encounter.
The good news in this story is that both women want to be helped and will let the drug officers find the appropriate agencies ready to help them get straight.
Officer Furher says the narcotics unit often hits local parking lots early because that’s when the dealers and junkies start working.
“Early in the morning, heroin users typically need to get their drug so they can function throughout the day,” he explained.
“Right now, the dangers of heroin and fentanyl are out there, so we are trying to protect the public and the people abusing the drugs,” Furher continued.
He noted that heroin affects everyone; it doesn’t affect just one class.
“It ravages all parts of society. People can have family or friends on heroin, so we try to stop this,” Officer Furher said.
And when asked what will shock people, the longtime officer said this: “There are many people in public places, purchasing and selling heroin in public places. Many times dealers feel safer to do it in a public place so they won’t rob each other hurt each other.”