The Fulton County Heroin Task Force hosted the “Isaiah Ward Fulton County Heroin Working Group Discussion” in the Fulton County Courthouse, Tuesday.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is determined not to forget Isaiah Ward, the little boy who was hit and killed by Ryan Lisabeth in 2016. Lisabeth was driving while high on heroin. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Fulton County Heroin Working Group is now, “Isaiah’s Working Group.” It consists of community leaders, health advocates, and families affected by opioid addiction.
There have been more than 642 deaths in the last six years. In 2017, more than 425 people were saved by the drug NARCAN. There were 109 heroin/opioid related deaths in Fulton County last year. From 2010 to 2016, the total number of opioid-involved overdose deaths increased by 117%, from 426 to 929 deaths. The rate increased by 111%, from 4.3 to 9.1 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Tuesday, the task force offered a detailed progress report on the strides Fulton County is making in this effort. So far, an in-depth study on the heroin crisis in Fulton County has been completed. The Fulton County Board of Commissioners also passed a resolution recognizing the heroin crisis in Fulton County, the first of its kind in Georgia. The Commissioners passed a resolution allocating $49,000 for the distribution of NARCAN to all first responders in the county. The Heroin Working Group is also coordinating with members of congress to push efforts in support of this fight. A “Heroin Helpline” should be completed in the spring of 2018. Referral cards will be given to all first responders so they can distribute on scene.
A comprehensive plan to combat the Fulton County heroin crisis, the creation of a community court in Atlanta Police Zone 1, and an effort to extend drug court to juvenile and state court is still in progress.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office will continue to give personal protective equipment bags to law enforcement. “Isaiah’s Bags” will include such items as gloves, masks, eye protection, and shoe covers.
Bob Ellis, Vice Chairman, Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Liz Hausmann, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, offered a county update during Tuesday’s group discussion. There was also a presentation of “Isaiah’s Bags” to the Johns Creek Police Department.