The Forsyth County News took an investigative look into the rising numbers of overdose deaths in Forsyth County in recent years and what is being done locally and nationally to combat the issue at its root. To read Heroin's Hold, click here.
A Drug Summit is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at the new events facility at the Cumming City Park on Pilgrim Mill Road. It is open to the public. To read more, click here.
FORSYTH COUNTY – Four people from Forsyth County overdosed, two fatally, from drugs, three emergency calls of which were within a 15-hour period on Sunday and a fourth that occurred mid-morning on Monday.
A 19-year-old from Forsyth County fatally overdosed at about 10 a.m. April 24 in an “apparent overdose of suspected heroin/fentanyl” at the Polo Fields subdivision near Vickery, according to Deputy Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
The teenager’s name is being withheld until deputies notify next of kin.
On Sunday, April 23, Jacob Oglesby, 33, of Cumming, died after overdosing on what the sheriff’s office believes to be heroin or fentanyl, Rainwater said.
“We believe it was heroin or fentanyl, but there was a hodge-podge of different narcotics at the [residence],” he said. “Fentanyl was probably the driving force.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic that is compared to morphine but can be up to 100 times more potent, and drug dealers have in recent years begun cutting heroin with the substance instead of with fillers like starch.
Deputies, who responded to the residence on Valley Lane in west Forsyth County around 5:25 a.m. Sunday, administered Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal nasal spray or shot, but Oglesby had already died, according to incident reports.
Oglesby’s 28-year-old girlfriend reportedly found him in a bathroom and called 911. She overdosed the same day around 1 p.m., reports said, but she was revived by a Narcan administration and transported to Northside Hospital-Forsyth in serious condition.
She was located at the same residence as her boyfriend, where deputies later executed a search warrant that yielded “large amounts of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, Xanax and other various pills located throughout the house,” reports said.
Three handguns were also recovered at the house.
At 4:53 p.m. Sunday, deputies were called to a residence on Nichols Road in south Forsyth in reference to a 30-year-old man who overdosed after “snorting Oxy[codone],” his girlfriend reportedly told deputies.
He was transported to a local hospital alive.
Rainwater said the first two overdoses on Sunday are believed to be connected and that deputies are investigating the other two.
“If you can’t get [pills], you usually turn to heroin or other opiates to satisfy your addiction,” Rainwater said. “Deputies do carry Narcan, and so far this year we’ve had nine saves from Narcan; nine people are alive today because of it. But Fentanyl can kill you by even a small amount.
“Even narcotics detectives carry Narcan just in case they get too close or come into contact with it – that’s how dangerous fentanyl is.”
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, 222 people in Georgia died from heroin overdoses, with another 284 dying from synthetic opioids.
Those numbers both represent an increase from 2014.
In 2014, 153 people died statewide from heroin, with the 2015 number marking a 37.5 percent increase in overdose deaths.
Synthetic opioids killed 174 people in 2014, marking 64.7 percent increase between 2014 and 2015.
Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald III said while he did not have immediate access to the number of overdose deaths in the county this year or last, his office is constantly working with the sheriff’s office.
“There’s a problem out there,” he said. “We have to be resilient to figure out how to be careful so these don’t continue to happen.”