Tifton officials work to solve opioid crisis at local level

Tifton officials work to solve opioid crisis at local level

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - The Tifton City Council is talking about getting more involved in fighting the opioid addiction crisis.

On Monday, council members discussed the possibility of having the city employ a law firm to join a lawsuit against the prescription drug makers.

After speaking with a few people involved in tackling the opioid addiction crisis in Tifton, they said that the changes have to start with the people in the community.

Experts said opioid addiction is at a crisis level and more and more cases have been seen across South Georgia.

Tifton officials said that their city, like many others, has to do a better job at fighting the crisis.

"Two to three phone calls a week of people addicted to opioids. People don't realize how quickly they can become addicted," said Tifton Drug Court Judge Herbert Benson.

Benson has seen several cases of opioid addiction and said that Tifton has to create safe spaces for these people to refer to.

"When it comes to recovery you got to change the people you hang out with, the places you hang out at and the things you've been doing," explained Benson.

With so few recovery and rehabilitation centers currently in the area, Benson said legislators are trying to come up with the money to build new facilities.

"Most of these RCO's will enable them and give them help as far as jobs, job training, resumes and counseling," said Benson.

Benson said the different programs and organizations involved in the fight are remaining consistent, but the only way this effort will work is if the community is aware of what's happening. Part of that means identifying where people get the opioids to abuse them and how the legislature responds.

"They are restricting the number of pills that you can have, they are restricting the number of pills a physician can prescribe at any given time," said Benson.

Benson said that overall, educating the community would be the start of fighting the crisis.

"By making the public more aware of it and the signs of the use, they'll recognize more and more people using it," explained Benson.

Benson said the city is trying to create more recovery programs in the area.

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