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Opioid use forces changes at Hill Detention Center

Everyone arrested in Davidson County is taken to the Hill Detention Center, next to the offices of the Nashville Sheriff on Second Avenue North. HDC can hold up to 356 pre-trial men facing a wide variety of criminal charges. Women are booked there and then transferred to Metro Detention.

Drug-related charges are among the most common seen by staff at HDC. However, a recent news report stated that widespread opioid use has forced Hill personnel to make more ambulance calls than ever before.

Sheriff Daron Hall says the law enforcement system is struggling to deal with an increasing number of people who try to consume drugs before they can be arrested in hopes that they can avoid being handcuffed and taken to Hill. By eating, injecting or otherwise consuming powerful drugs such as heroin or prescription medications, they put themselves in danger of overdosing.

"It's not unusual for people who are being arrested to ingest what they've been using to avoid the arrest," Hall told Channel 5 news. "And that ingestion, a few hours later, can kill them."

If they do OD, Hall said they are treated at booking or sometimes by hospital staff. Jail nurses keep a supply of naloxone (an opioid reversal drug also known as Narcan) to treat people who have overdosed.

"The first 72 hours of someone's stay is critical," Hall said, adding that it is not always easy to differentiate between overdoses and those who are merely intoxicated.

Those who have been arrested and booked on charges such as heroin possession soon learn that they could spend up to a year behind bars. Of course, if they face drug-dealing charges, they face the potential of much more time in a Tennessee prison.

If you have been busted for a drug crime, talk to a criminal defense attorney before speaking with prosecutors or police. A lawyer experienced in drug defense can help protect your rights and freedom.

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