Forsyth County officials have taken steps in recent years to recognize drug issues in the county and provide help for those in recovery, and a day is being set aside to acknowledge the effects of dangerous drugs, particularly opiates.
At Thursday's Forsyth County Commission meeting, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills read a proclamation from the board designating Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in the county.
The proclamation states the day is meant to urge “all residents to learn about this disease and to aid and support those that are affected by it,” and cited information from several health organizations.
Per the proclamation, overdoses are the “number one cause of injury deaths with an accidental drug overdose occurring every eight minutes, surpassing deaths from motor vehicle accidents or gun homicides.”
According to information from the office of state Attorney General Chris Carr, there were 541 million opioid doses prescribed to Georgians between June 2016 and May 2017, the equivalent of about 54 doses for every resident in the state.
The proclamation also states that Georgia is one of the top 11 states for opioid overdose deaths and 55 counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.
The recent rise in opioid overdoses has received increased attention locally and across the country.
Along with Mills, Heather Hayes, CEO and founder of Heather Hayes & Associates, spoke about the need in the area.
“The [Centers for Disease Control and Protection] just had more stats come out for 2017; I think it was that they're up to like 198 deaths a day,” Hayes said. “I am proud to be from a county that is fighting this epidemic.”