Nashville prosecutors crack down on opioid dealers

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Opioids are taking over our streets, and prosecutors are cracking down on the dealers.

Donalson Carter was just sentenced to 30 years for selling heroin laced with fentanyl, a deadly dangerous drug that state prosecutors say is a growing concern here in Nashville.

“The rise of opiates, I’ve never seen anything like it in my career,” said Assistant District Attorney Jenny Charles.

Charles told News 2 the growing concern of opiates on our streets is becoming a major one.

“You find so many people who get on pain pills from an injury or something that we could all get, and they cannot afford the pain pills any longer, and then they turn to heroin and so, this is not only a problem in Davidson County, it’s a problem nationwide,” she explained.

(Courtesy: Mt. Juliet Police Department)

According to the assistant DA, heroin has surpassed cocaine as the drug of choice.

“A lot of these are younger women who are buying heroin and I’m not sure why that is, but it is definitely the drug of choice today – the opiates,” Charles explained.

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The assistant DA went on to say an even bigger concern though is heroin laced with fentanyl, which is a synthetic opiate that is 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“From May of 2015 to 2016, there were roughly 10 cases of confirmed fentanyl. For the same time of 2016 to 2017, that had gone up over 100 percent,” Charles said.

Buyers don’t know if the drug they are buying is laced with anything and it is killing them.

“You have no idea and most of the time this stuff is mixed up in a living room, in a milk jug in a living room or in a grinder, like you or I would grind a milkshake,” Charles told News 2.

In the recent prosecution of Donalson Carter, she explained children were present.

“They were going to ingest the heroin-laced with fentanyl in the Walmart parking lot, and if this stuff had gotten out, or become airborne, you’re talking about a real disaster,” Charles said.

Thanks to increased federal and state funding, more money will be going to help Tennesseans trapped in addiction.

The 21st Century Cures Act will send $13.8 million per year to Tennessee for two years. The money will be used for overdose prevention and increasing access to treatment.

Governor Bill Haslam and legislature have also approved an additional $6 million per year, every year, to expand treatment and recovery services.