FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners has proclaimed Aug. 31, 2017 Overdose Awareness Day.
At an Aug. 23 meeting, the board approved the proclamation which states that drug poisoning is among the leading causes of accidental deaths in the nation, with drug overdose death occurring every 11 minutes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 52,404 people died in the United States as a result of drug positioning, or 144 per day, in 2015, the most current reporting year.
Sheriff Ron Freeman read the proclamation saying in 2016, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there were 1,426 accidental deaths in the state caused by a prescription drug poisoning. Twenty-three of those deaths were in Forsyth County.
“By acknowledging all those who have been affected by prescription drug poisoning, we help the general public understand its effects on the community of Forsyth County,” Freeman said. “Forsyth County remains committed to raising awareness in order to combat stigma and educate our community about prescription drug poisoning prevention.”
Local resident and realtor Jennifer Bryant Hodge spoke at the meeting about her son who died from an overdose. She thanked the board for acknowledging addiction as a disease.
“It’s true and I’ve seen it in our community,” Hodge said. “Realtors are on the front line going in and out of people’s homes. We care about our community, want to save it and make sure we are not smothered and covered in death like so many others in this country.”
She said a “Teacup Memorial Service” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 31 at Century 21, 2920 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Suite 113, in Cumming.
“If you see these teacups, they represent the lives lost of our neighbors, friends and people in the heroin triangle,” Hodge said. “There were an additional 100 teacups that had to be ordered. We’ve lost a lot of lives. The community wants to be honored and no longer shamed as this is now recognized as a disease.”