Reducing Opioid Deaths In Fulton County Has Become His Passion

Bob Ellis is Vice Chairman of the Fulton County Commission

Maria Boynton
March 05, 2018 - 10:34 pm

(Photo Credit: Fulton County Government )

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According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state is among the top 11 states with the most deaths from prescription opioid overdose. Opioids are medicines used to help reduce pain. They also include the illegal drug heroin and fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid.

Fulton County Commission Vice Chair Bob Ellis says he is "embarrassed" and "heartbroken" to know that deaths from opioids in his county are double the national average. In 2016, there were 154 opioid-related deaths in Fulton County, according to the medical examiner's office.

To help curtail the problem, Fulton County has sued drug manufacturers and is paying for officers to carry an antidote to opiate overdoses. They also expanded the number of locations for people to drop off the drugs. "We have 23 drug disposal boxes throughout Fulton County", says Ellis. Those needing more information can go to the Fulton County GA website. 

It's important to him, says Ellis, because families have told him their stories and the pain it has caused them. He says there's no one easy solution to addressing the epidemic. "It's going to require a lot of different steps, whether it's treatment or a different way that the medical community is going about prescribing. It's going to require a large number of folks tackling this from a lot of different directions."