To recognize the impact of addiction and drug overdose in our communities, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Forsyth County.
Community members who lost loved ones spoke during a presentation Thursday on the need to raise awareness to combat stigma and educate our community about prescription overdose prevention.
Jennifer Hodge, founder of Realty4Recovery, a nonprofit that “believes the answer for funding the epidemic of substance abuse is Real Estate,” spoke before the board.
“All these mothers here — we’re losing a lot of children here,” Hodge said. “Nobody really talks about it, [but] what [Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills] has done for all of us is bring the awareness to our community.”
While Hodge said that Forsyth County is “one of the strongest counties in this country as far as our awareness,” she said that the county still has high overdose death numbers.
“I would love to see more of everybody get involved because … it’s that kid next door, it’s that kid at church,” Hodge said. “These are great children in Forsyth County going to the top schools, but yet we have some of the top overdose death numbers.”
Hodge also spoke about the Teacup Memorial that has been held for the past four years on Aug. 31, drug overdose awareness day. Families and individuals are encouraged to purchase a teacup to light in honor of a loved one during the event with proceeds going towards purchasing Narcan to give local law enforcement. Narcan is a medicine designed to combat the effects of opiate overdose.
The Teacup Memorial will be held this year from 6-8:30 on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at United Way of Forsyth County. Hodge said that there will be teacups and banners with children’s faces on them to demonstrate “what it looks like every two weeks in America” in terms of drug overdose.
Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills thanked all the mothers for being there to speak and represent their cause, recognizing that “it’s not easy to be here.”
She also said that on Aug. 31, the county would be lighting the courthouse and county administration building purple, along with the city of Cumming lighting water tower.
“So when everybody’s out and they see the purple, they’ll know it’s for drug [overdose] awareness,” Mills said.
As the mothers thanked the county for their involvement and support on this issue, the audience of public participants stood and clapped to show their support as well.
“Please continue to support us and thank you for everything that you do,” Hodge said. “And we’re going to continue to try to raise awareness to save your children.”
According to the CDC, an average of 256 people per day died from an overdose in 2020, which was an annual increase of 30%.
United Way of Forsyth County is at 240 Elm St, Cumming, GA 30040.