Fulton DA: opioid crisis getting worse

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The opioid crisis continues to plague Fulton County, according to new statistics presented by the District Attorney Thursday.

"Unfortunately, I would have to say we are still in the midst of a very deadly crisis," said Paul Howard.

Howard gave an update on the situation at a luncheon with the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce.

According to statistics from Howard's office, 109 people died of opioid overdoses in Fulton County last year. That number, however, could have been much higher; county first responders saved more than 425 people from overdoses with the reversal drug Narcan.

That high number of overdoses poses a major threat to police officers who are often the first on the scene. Some synthetic opioids are transdermal drugs, meaning someone can absorb them and overdose simply by touching them or breathing them.

Working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Howard's office compiled a kit of protective supplies to help keep officers safe. The District Attorney presented the first bag to Johns Creek Police Chief Ed Densmore.

"In this day and age, a lot of times we don't know what we're walking into," said Chief Densmore. "So, hopefully, this, if it saves one person it's definitely worth the effort for sure."

Howard named the kit "Isaiah's Bag" in memory of Isaiah Ward, 9, who was hit and killed while riding his bike at the hands of a driver high on heroin.

"We're asking people not to forget Isaiah," said Howard. "We're hoping that it will save at least one life and if we can save one life, then we're satisfied."

The entire Johns Creek Police Department should have kits within the next 30 days. Eventually, Howard hopes to get enough funding to outfit all law enforcement officers in Fulton County.