The intertwined complexity of addiction and trauma – mixed with illicit drugs, fake pills and the recent COVID pandemic


More and more deaths are attributed to drug abuse. Elliot Pinsly, president and CEO of the Behavioral Health Foundation, told WGNS NEWS… Unknowingly, users are buying drugs off the street that contain lethal amounts of fentanyl. The DEA reports that fentanyl is mixed with other street drugs to increase the potency of the drug, which is sometimes sold as powders and nasal sprays. The Drug Enforcement Administration says fentanyl is similar to morphine, but about 100 times more potent.

Fake pills are part of the growing overdose problem in Rutherford County and across the country. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have reported a massive increase in fentanyl squeezed into pills, designed to look like legitimate prescription opioids. Reports indicate that four out of ten pills sold on the street contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, according to DEA lab tests.

Understanding why so many people turn to drugs is one way to help solve the ongoing drug epidemic. However, understanding why someone started using is not an easy task, as the root of the problem is too often rooted in the user’s childhood. To compound the problems, some children who have been physically abused reach adulthood with the belief that they caused the abuse…

While everyone experiences different levels of trauma throughout their lives, some traumatic events are far worse than others… Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the end result of trauma, which introduces another level of complexity to issues like addiction.

Adding another piece to the puzzle, the past COVID pandemic has not helped the ongoing drug problem. At the end of 2020, the CDC confirmed that nationwide drug overdose deaths were the highest ever recorded over a 12-month period. In addition to the increase in opioid-related deaths, overdose deaths involving cocaine also soared 26.5% during the pandemic, according to the CDC.

To learn more about the Behavioral Health Foundation, visit it online at “” If you struggle with thoughts of self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Listen to Elliot Pinsly’s recent interview on WGNS – HERE.


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