News and Press Releases


March 2, 2011
CONTACT:  Patrick Crosby
FAX (404)581-6160

Group Hears Problems & Ideas for Solutions, Internet Site Established

            ATLANTA, GA - Approximately 260 people heard a wide variety of experts and community representatives during a full-day summit on the exponential growth of prescription drug abuse and addiction in Georgia. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, and the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation jointly hosted the summit at Georgia State University's Student Center.

            Key speakers from law enforcement, public policy, health and medicine, and substance abuse treatment explored the scope of the prescription drug abuse problem and steps that can be taken to address the problem.  The summit included national and local law enforcement experts who are fighting the surge in prescription drug abuse, CDC and university researchers who are tracking and studying these trends, and doctors, pharmacists, and substance abuse providers who see the problems on the front line.

            Moderator United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates told the group, “Georgia is facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and this is not a problem that can be solved by law enforcement alone. Everyone who is affected by this problem, including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, educators, and parents, must come together to identify solutions to reverse this trend.”

            “We fought the battles against crack, methamphetamine, and meth labs in Georgia, and now the problem we face is prescription drug abuse. The GBI medical examiner is receiving three to five new deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs each week,” GBI Director Vernon Keenan told the audience.

            Other speakers at the summit included Joseph T. Rannazzisi, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and director of DEA’s Pharmaceutical Drug Diversion Control Office, Rick Allen, Director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Christopher Jones, Senior Policy Advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Dr. Len Paulozzi, Medical Epidemiologist, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

            In conjunction with the summit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office established a webpage to serve as a resource to the press and the public about prescription drug abuse.  The webpage,, will include the presentation materials from the summit as well as other resources and links relating to prescription drug abuse. Additional materials will be added on a regular basis to update and expand the content on the website. The public is encouraged to visit the website.

            The summit took place at the Georgia State University Student Center, Speakers’ Auditorium, located at 44 Courtland Street, in Atlanta.

            For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is



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