Georgia legislation allows pharmacists to carry overdose medication

By COURTNEY MAZZA

The 2017-2018 legislative session in Georgia will include a legislation from Georgia Overdose Prevention, or GOP, which would allow pharmacists to carry and dispense the overdose prevention medication, Naloxone, to people without a prescription.

In 2014, Georgia amended state laws with the passing of Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law and Expanded Naloxone Access Law, providing immunity, or protection from arrest, to those who seek medical assistance for themselves, or another person, who is experiencing a drug or alcohol related overdose. The bill also protects minors seeking medical attention for certain underage drinking offenses.

Not only does the law provide immunity for possession of certain drugs, probation and parole violations, drug paraphernalia and alcohol consumption, but the law also increases access to the treatment for opioid overdose, Naloxone. The GOP created and testified for the success of this law.

“After our law passed, we focused our efforts on educating Georgians about our law and the protection it provides, and on distributing Naloxone rescue kits and training to anyone at high risk of opioid overdose,” said Laurie Fugitt, co-founder of Georgia Overdose Prevention.

461 lives were saved by the GOP and Association of Human Resource Management, or AHRM, when kits were administered by community members, including relatives, friends and former drug abusers. These kits allow more time for a victim to receive proper medical attention to prevent death from an overdose.

The Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, Frank Rotondo, has been a long supporter of Naloxone programs for law enforcement, testifying his support of the 911 Medical Amnesty and Expanded Naloxone Access Law, and distributing information to all

Georgia police chiefs, encouraging the Naloxone programs.

“The support of these programs is a no-brainer from my point of view,” Rotondo said. “A very clear example was a police lieutenant whose daughter died of an overdose, and she couldn’t assist her daughter. Friends left her daughter on the side of the road after partying. She died when she could have been saved.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, since 1999 sales of prescription opioid drugs have increased, and deaths involving these drugs has quadrupled. The abuse of heroin in young adults ages 18-25 has more than doubled in the past decade, with 45 percent of heroin abusers also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. In 2013, more than 8,200 people died of a heroin-related overdose.

According to a graph from Georgiaoverdose.com, people of all ages and ethnicities are dying in Georgia due to the abuse of opioid drugs. The lack of knowledge on medical amnesty laws and the availability of Naloxone are common reasons.

mapGeorgia Overdose Deaths from 2010-2015 (Photo courtesy of Georgriaoverdose.com)

University police departments across Georgia have also taken part in establishing Naloxone programs. As of 2016, 12 Georgia colleges’ law departments are equipped with Naloxone, including the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University.

In 2017, Georgia State University will also begin carrying Naloxone.

nalaxoneNaloxone is administered by injection (Photo courtesy of Google Images)

According to Lieutenant Ben Dickens, the Athens Clarke County Police Department, or  ACCPD, used Naloxone eight times in the past year, with seven successful reversals.

“We only had a small number of kits to officers during this last year,” Dickens said. “We are now pushing it out to all patrol officers and expect the usage rate to go up.”

According to the GOD, Cobb County, Fulton County and Gwinnett County, are all experiencing the highest drug overdose rates in Georgia. Gwinnett County, one of the 57 Georgia law enforcement departments carrying Naloxone, experienced 406 overdose deaths between 2010 and 2015, while Fulton County has experienced 696 known overdose deaths during those same years.

Earlier this year, at the urging of District Attorney Paul Howard and the Fulton County Heroin Task Force, the Fulton County commissioners voted unanimously to allocate $49,000 to fund Naloxone for first respondents.

Rotondo believes that every law enforcement agency should carry Naloxone, but city and county budgets limit these resources.

“It is probably one of the simplest decisions I had to make, to say that’s a very good bill, all law enforcement agencies should have it, it’s reasonably priced,” Rotondo said. “Why all don’t have it is a question of money, because the reality of it is that all law enforcement agents feel the same way I do. It’s better to save people.”

Republicans: Our Country Can’t Survive Four More Years

By MATT BRADSHAW

            TAMPA, Fla. — Attorney and Georgia alternate delegate Brad Carver grinned proudly as he flashed the three delegate credentials he had secured for his family. Carver already had an alternate credential but alternates are not granted floor access. Only delegate credentials could get himself, wife and baby boy on the floor for the grand finale of the 2012 Republican National Convention Thursday night.

            “I’ve got a 9 month year old child sitting here that my wife and I are going to take to the convention floor. I care about him, I really do,” said Carver. “And the best way that I can do anything for my child’s future is to help get this team (Romney/Ryan) elected. That is absolutely why I am here. It’s about my baby boy Bradley. It’s about his future and his kids.”

            The 40-year-old Carver, who is a partner at the Atlanta based Hall Booth Smith & Slover P.C., believes that this is the most important election of his lifetime. Carver believes that presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan are the only chance the country has to save itself.

            “Clinton was a pretty moderate president, he had some conservative policies, he reformed welfare, he balanced the budget with Speaker Gingrich’s help. He (Clinton) did a lot of Republican kind of things, so he wasn’t that bad,” said Carver. “I certainly supported the Republicans (during the Clinton administration) but it wasn’t like we were going off a cliff like we are now. If we have four more years of this I don’t see how we don’t turn into Greece.”

            It can be hard to imagine a world power like the United States falling so far as to be compared to the financial crises facing Greece today, but Carver did his best to put this claim into perspective.

            “In our history, Washington to George W. Bush, we have had 8 almost 9 trillion dollars of debt,” said Carver. “We have almost doubled that, we’re almost at 16 trillion dollars and half of that has come under this president. Half under Obama and the other half from over 200 years!”

             When asked to expound on this, Carver displayed his faith in Paul Ryan.

“If we put another eight trillion dollars of debt on the table in next four years, it’s over. The only way to resolve this fiscal disaster is to reform Medicare and social security. This is something that you, me and every person in this country, should be very concerned about. I was concerned I wasn’t going to have social security until Paul Ryan came along.”

            This coming from a man who knows a thing or two about the economy and attracting business and jobs to the United States. Carver is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, specializing in economic development at his law firm, he works to help international clients relocate their operations in Georgia and in the rest of the Southeast United States.

            “If they (Romney/Ryan) get elected you are going to see a boost, immediately, there is a lot of money sitting on the sidelines right now and that’s because no one with money wants to invest, nobody knows what’s going to happen. If we show them (investors) a positive vision they are going to invest,” said Carver. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy any time soon, we’ve got a painful decade coming ahead of us but we have to turn it around. We need this dream ticket, this fix it team. Democrats have always made Bane Capital an enemy, this vulture company. They acquire dying companies and try to fix them. Of course there are going to be lay-offs but these companies were going to die already. Were they (Bain Capital) successful in every attempt? No, of course not but you have to try.”

            Like Carver, Cheryl Lavette, a guest of the Georgia Delegation at the Republican convention, works with some of the people who are keeping their money on the sidelines. Lavette is a registered investment advisor who serves as vice president, director of sales and distribution with a money management firm in Atlanta.

She has become more and more involved in politics over the years and is currently the Georgia state coordinator for Smart Girl Politics (SmartGirlPolitics.org)

            “It infuriates me, people who don’t understand what we are facing with the economy,” said Lavette. “I just want to tell them, you are letting yourselves be manipulated. We live in a country that has what people all over the world dream of and you’re just going to let it slip away. Socialism doesn’t work anywhere in the world, Europe, Russia, England. People come here from the UK and plead with us, keep what you have America, socialism isn’t working for us!”

            When asked about the social issues that Romney and Ryan are attacked about by the Democrats, issues such as family planning that are important to women across the nation, Lavette responded, “You know what I tell people? I tell them I don’t even talk social issues now. Not until the fiscal issues are solved because it isn’t going to matter if the country collapses.”

            Carver revealed that he himself is a libertarian Republican who supports individual rights, saying, “I’m a libertarian Republican. I know a lot of them, my wife is one. What holds us all together are the fiscal issues. Do we have social conservatives, social moderates, and social liberals in this group? We absolutely do. I’ll be honest with you, I’m pro-choice, a lot of us (Republicans) are. Are we the majority? No. Are we the majority with the 40 and under Republicans? Yes but that’s not my focus right now. I care about Bradley having a job, I care about economic development, I care about jobs.”

            Many Republicans believe that Romney choosing Ryan as his running mate is a key to this upcoming election. Carver believes that Speaker John Boehner, who spoke to the Georgia delegation Thursday morning, said it best.

            “This election with Paul Ryan says more about Mitt Romney than it does about Paul Ryan,” said Boehner. “He (Romney) made it clear that he was going to be on offense and we were going to be on offense and taking it to the Democrats in this election.”

Ryan Focuses on Obama

TAMPA, Fla.. — Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan set the stage for presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday night with an all-out offensive on President Obama and his economy.

            “I have never seen opponents so silent about their record and so desperate to hold on to power. Fear and division is all they’ve got left,” said Ryan. “With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money, and he’s pretty experienced at that.”

            Ryan made strong points about Medicare and specifically how it is effected by Obamacare, saying, “760 billion (was) funneled out of Medicare by President Obama, an obligation we have to our parents and grandparents, is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new economy that we didn’t ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare, is Obamacare and we’re going to stop it!” 

            Former Republican candidate for the House of Representatives and Georgia Delegate Martha Zoller is happy that Ryan has a plan to cut spending at all, saying, “I’ve interviewed Ryan and I’ve studied his plan. I like the fact that he put a plan out and I don’t think it balances the budget soon enough but at least it’s a plan that will get us there.”

            Ryan also addressed college students repeatedly throughout his speech. One of Ryan’s remarks lead to one of the biggest cheers heard in the Tampa Times Forum this week.

            “Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for or any work at all. So here’s the question,” asked Ryan. “Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different than the last four years?”

            Delegates and convention goers laughed and applauded Ryan when he declared that, “college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at faded Obama posters, wondering when they can move out and get going with life!”

            The 2012 Republican National Convention will come to a head tonight, when Romney speaks and the balloons fall upon the floor.

First Lady with a Servant’s Heart

First Lady with a Servant’s Heart

KSU Com. students with the Deals at the Georgia Delegation Brunch

By SARA LYNN COLLEY

TAMPA, Fla. – As the Georgia Republican Party gathers to celebrate the Presidential Nominee at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra Deal can be seen happily together supporting the GOP’s success.

The two have been married for 46 years, and Sandra Deal attributes their happiness to the flexibility they have with each other, support of each other, and shared values.

Sandra Deal first met Nathan Deal on a blind date, through a mutual friend while they were both in college. Sandra Deal was impressed by Nathan Deal upon meeting him.

“I observed that he was well groomed, not loud, and he could carry on a conversation.” Deal says. “We talked that night about our philosophy of life, and I thought, ‘This guy has a brain! He can talk about something besides cars, basketball or athletics.’ and so I liked that.”

As their connection grew and sparked a relationship, Sandra Deal learned that Nathan Deal held multiple leadership positions and had many responsibilities, yet still stayed humble. The two dated for three years, but waited to get married until Nathan Deal graduated law school, all the while Sandra Deal was working as a teacher and earning her master’s degree.

The Deals had four children soon after marriage, and he gave her the freedom to stay home and look after the children during that time. Deal substitute taught until her older children were in college and the younger children were in middle school, and decided to get recertified to teach full time. Shortly after, Deal retired to take care of her parents, as her mother and father and Nathan Deal’s mother moved in with them.

However, when the empty nest syndrome set in, she got bored and began looking for something to occupy her time. At this time Nathan Deal decided to run for governor, and Sandra Deal took advantage of this opportunity to promote education.

“Education I believe is key to a successful life.” Deal says. “A successful life is getting a good education, being able to read, and we worked on promoting that at the preschools to help give children a good start.”

Deal says she got out to visit different parts of Georgia, to see the good things happening in the state to report back to her husband, since he did not have as much time to visit. Deal sought out food pantries, support establishments for children who have been sexually or physically abused, technical colleges, as well as many other organizations.

“There is so much good going on in our state that is very seldom recognized,” Deal says. “We hear so much about the bad things. But we seldom hear about the good things, and I have loved being able to go out and see what good is going on in our state and how I can help and how I can help other people know.”

Nathan Deal appreciates her willingness to be involved in improving the reading skills in elementary schools.

He said, “Her activities of promoting the importance of reading go a long way for raising that awareness.”

And that, he said, is essential to his political efforts concerning education.

She works to connect people with the same needs in different areas, and share that information with Nathan Deal. “I just love being able to thank people for what they do for our state and for the people of our state.” Deal says about serving the people of Georgia. “And sometimes people like that work very hard and few people every say thank you, and that’s been a great pleasure of mine.”

“It’s so great to see the way they interact with each other.” says bystander Charles Duvall. “You can really see how they support each other.” About working as a support for her husband, Deal admits that she has to remember to be flexible. She keeps in mind that Nathan Deal is out serving other people, and they both have to work to keep the relationship as strong as possible. “Maybe we have date nights that keep focus on our relationship.” Deal advises. “I have to be willing to let him serve and help him in that way too, and not come to him bitter, feeling slighted.”

Through and through First Lady Sandra Deal is committed to her husband, Gov. Nathan Deal. “We have our hard times as well as our good times, just like everybody.” Deal says. “You take a deep breath and you do what you need to do.”