Cumming Drug Summit Looks to Tackle Heroin Use

Cumming Drug Summit Looks to Tackle Heroin Use

Tuesday evening the Cumming community took a look in the mirror to identify its struggles, and potential solutions, regarding local heroin abuse.

The Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council hosted its fifth annual Drug Summit the night of April 19. Its goal was to address the ways in which law enforcement, community leaders, and everyday citizens can combat heroin use in the Cumming area, a practice that is a growing health and safety hazard for the community.

Like much of the rest of the United States, heroin use is a growing concern in Forsyth County. In 2013, at least three Forsyth County deaths were caused by heroin overdoses, according to the North Fulton Herald, and last summer the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a raid by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office that seized approximately $200,000 in heroin.

The summit recognized these issues as something that needs to addressed, not simply ignored.

“We’ve actually taken, as a community, the step forward to recognize the problem, rather than deny it,” Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said.

The Drug Summit featured a screening of the 11 Alive documentary “The Triangle,” an expose on skyrocketing heroin use in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties. According to Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Mills, the problems facing those counties also persist in Forsyth.

“A lot of what you’re telling (in the documentary) is in our neighborhood,” she told 11 Alive.

Users of heroin are not the only ones put in harm’s way by the drug. Drivers under the influence of the drug can cause harrowing damage, as seen on April 17, when a driver high on heroin struck and killed 9-year-old Isaiah Ward with his car in northwest Atlanta, the AJC reported.

The Cumming community wants to avoid having such tragedies of its own.

Much of the program was aimed at parents with teen and young adult children, as 18-25 year olds are some of the most likely to abuse heroin, the CDC and USA Today report.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office have recognized that this is a different kind of problem, one that will take community cooperation and new solutions. Sheriff Piper told 11 Alive News that heroin addiction is a problem the department can’t arrest its way out of.

One solution is the recent use of naloxone kits by sheriff’s deputies. Naloxone is a drug that reverses heroin overdoses; the drug was recently used to save a man’s life in Forsyth County.

Such solutions, and others, will be used to continue to combat this terrible drug.

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