City leaders to draft model for opioid epidemic - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City leaders to draft model for opioid epidemic

Dice explains fentanyl is the most potent opioid to city leaders (Source: WALB) Dice explains fentanyl is the most potent opioid to city leaders (Source: WALB)
Hospital and law enforcement workers collaborate at first meeting on deadly drugs (Source: WALB) Hospital and law enforcement workers collaborate at first meeting on deadly drugs (Source: WALB)
Numbers rise in overdose deaths since 2000 (Source: WALB) Numbers rise in overdose deaths since 2000 (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Local health leaders are stepping to the front lines to fight the drug epidemic face on.

Phoebe Putney Hospital has partnered with local law enforcement and other community agencies to form a new task force, one that's designed to fight opioid drug use that is sweeping across the state.

"I think we're kind of being on the proactive side, because we're combating something before it gradually attacks our community," Albany Dougherty County Drug Unit Major, Prurince Dice said.

During their first meeting on Tuesday, Dice talked about just how deadly some opioids could be especially fentanyl. In fact, he said just a very small amount of fentanyl, like the size of this ball point pen, is enough to kill someone.

Phoebe Hospital has partnered with Albany law enforcement to tackle the drug epidemic and want to really start with prevention. Leaders want to halt all drugs, not just opioids.

Dice says he wants to recognize the problems first hand, then figure out the next steps.

"Enforcing the law or focusing more on the crime reduction part may not necessarily be 100 percent the best solution for this type of epidemic," Dice said.

Hospital Manager of Security, Emergency and Preparedness Gary Rice wants the police and hospital to collaborate on issues like drug use.

"A lot of things that go on inside of our hospital we have to work with our law enforcement partners on the outside and the same thing. They're seeing things on the outside that may influence the way we have to treat people on the inside," Rice said.

For Dice, solving the drug outbreak is more than just working with Phoebe, it's protecting his family. 

"My kids and my wife are the closest to me," Dice said.

The partnership between hospital and police enhances partnerships at work that can help relationships at home. 

"It means a lot to me and I know I can speak for every parent. This is not something we want our kids to be introduced to. We don't want them to try it." Dice said.

City leaders are still in the planning stages for organizing the model to tackle this drug epidemic. 

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