GBI responds to opioid epidemic - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GBI responds to opioid epidemic

In the past decade, the GBI has switched their focus from drugs to violent crimes. With the Opioid epidemic as prevalent as it is, the GBI said they don't anticipate a switch back-- but they are relying on their drug task forces (Source: WALB) In the past decade, the GBI has switched their focus from drugs to violent crimes. With the Opioid epidemic as prevalent as it is, the GBI said they don't anticipate a switch back-- but they are relying on their drug task forces (Source: WALB)
In recent undercover operations, drug agents noticed something odd that they hadn't really seen before.... these dealers are now wearing rubber gloves to protect themselves from their own drug. (Source: WALB) In recent undercover operations, drug agents noticed something odd that they hadn't really seen before.... these dealers are now wearing rubber gloves to protect themselves from their own drug. (Source: WALB)
DECATUR, GA (WALB) -

In the past decade, the GBI has switched their focus from drugs to violent crimes. With the opioid epidemic as prevalent as it is, the GBI said they don't anticipate a switch back, but they are relying on their drug task forces and federal partners to combat the issue.

"It's unknown what they will do to a human because they have never been tested. These are all new drugs," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan

The epidemic is clear. There is a serious and deadly opioid problem in America right now.

"The power of addiction is such that a person who gets addicted to prescription drugs can very well go over to heroin laced with fentanyl, and things like that," said Keenan.

In recent undercover operations, drug agents noticed something odd that they hadn't really seen before. These dealers are now wearing rubber gloves to protect themselves from their own drug.

"You would think that would deter an addict, that the person they are buying drugs from is wearing rubber gloves or protective gear when in fact, it doesn't. They say 'man this must be good stuff,'" said Keenan.

Prescription drugs have killed thousands of people in the past several years, with President Trump calling it a 'Public Health Emergency.'

"They are manufacturing thousands of pills more than there is a legitimate need for," said Keenan.

Keenan said he wants to see more treatment facilities put in place for those who want help.

"The issues with Narcan is that you resuscitate the folks who overdosed, but unless they want treatment, they will be going through the same process over again," said Keenan.

Every day, GBI scientists are opening each bag of evidence with questions as to what exactly is in it.

"We have to do it now that the scientists are fully suited in protective gear and were opening up the evidence bags in containment platforms so there can't be any exposure," said Keenan.

Keenan said he believes the DEA and state attorneys are taking the correct approach by going after the doctors and pharmaceutical companies to put the high prescription drug problem to a halt.

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