Charles Sperling knows the torment and desperation of drug addiction. More than 30 years ago, when he was young and living in New York, far from his Alabama roots, he got hooked on heroin. In 1986, though, Sperling stopped using the drug and started to turn his life around. Now he runs a nonprofit helping former prisoners from Johnson State Prison in Wrightsville with re-entry into society.
State officials and lawmakers have launched a campaign aimed at addressing the issue of prescription drug abuse among teenagers in the state. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities spokesman Matt Carrothers Tuesday said that state officials and youth from Catoosa and Gwinnett counties met at the Capitol to launch the project, titled "Generation Rx."
A new program designed to combat prescription drug abuse in Georgia might run out of money to operate only a few months after it gets under way in June. Georgia lawmakers didn't appropriate any funding for the prescription monitoring program when they passed legislation to create it in 2011. The program involves an electronic database that tracks prescriptions.
Among the potential casualties of budget cutting in Washington are programs in Georgia that help women break their drug addiction and find work. The programs have helped thousands of Georgia women, but Congress has not provided more than $20 million the state uses to fund them
Georgia has been awarded a $400,000 grant to implement a prescription drug monitoring program. Thirty-seven states have prescription drug monitoring systems. Georgia has passed legislation to establish the program, but has not designated funding for it.
A comprehensive physician-led effort to fight the spread of prescription drug abuse and its destructive supply chain launched Tuesday in Gainesville. The initiative aims to attack the problem through education and legislation.
An analysis of autopsy data by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed a 10 percent increase in the number of deaths where a prescription-drug overdose was the cause. More than 700 people died from overdoses in 2010, and three-quarters of those were the result of prescription drugs, mostly narcotic pain relievers.
Federal prosecutors have organized a summit to highlight the growth of prescription drug abuse and addiction in Georgia. Wednesday's gathering comes amid an effort by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta to crack down on so-called "pill mills" that make it easy for drug abusers to obtain the medications.