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GMRC hears about anti-heroin effort during meeting in Forsyth County

FORSYTH COUNTY — A drug that reverses the effects of a heroin overdose could soon be more widely available in Forsyth County and the surrounding area.

During a meeting Thursday of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, member Dallas Gay gave a presentation on efforts to distribute naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of heroine overdoes, through Project Deaths Avoided by Naloxone.

“Project DAN will start this fall in all of northeast Georgia,” Gay told the group, which met at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center. “It will be the largest program of this kind in the state.”

Gay, who lost a grandson to a heroin overdose, said Project DAN will seek to donate naloxone to throughout the regional commission’s service area, which includes Forsyth, Dawson and Hall, among other northeast Georgia counties.

“We’re going to buy and donate naloxone kits to all the law enforcement and all the communities that want to be a part of DAN,” Gay said. “Those are $40 apiece and getting higher every day.

“We’ve written a training program to train those first responders how to use that and what the first aid is they need to do.”

According to Gay, law enforcement officers have saved 34 lives by using naloxone since it became allowed in Georgia. He called it a “miracle drug.”

Other than distributing naloxone, Project Dan also wants to increase awareness of the state’s medical amnesty law, which allows emergency services to be called without legal repercussions. It also aims to install more prescription drug drop-off boxes, of which Forsyth County already has at least two.

Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who introduced Gay at the meeting, said she has felt the need to reduce drug overdoses in the county.

“We had had several deaths in the community to heroin, and we had nothing for our parents to learn about drug abuse,” Mills said. “I had several friends whose children needed to know more, because their children were abusing the drug, and they didn’t know where to turn.”