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Press Release

United States Attorney’s Office Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Heroin and Opioid Abuse Awareness

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia

Savannah, GA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia partnered with Dismas Charities, Savannah to host a roundtable discussion on heroin and opioid abuse.  This event was part of the Department of Justice’s inaugural National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, taking place September 19-23, 2016.  In attendance were representatives of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, Memorial Health University, Recovery Place, Inc., Assisted Recovery Center of Georgia, the DEA and Chatham County Counter Narcotics Team. 


Heroin overdoses nationally have risen 224 percent between 2007 and 2013. On an average day, 78 people will die from an opioid-related death. Dr. Jay Goldstein, the chief ER physician at Memorial University Health Center, spoke of the significant surge in opioid dependency that emergency room doctors are encountering on the front lines.  The heroin and opioid crisis is hitting close to home. Diane Diver, Clinical Director of Recovery Place, shared that between 2012 and 2014, Chatham County experienced a higher percentage of opioid related overdoes than metro Atlanta. 


United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “There has been a significant spike in heroin abuse as a result of prescription opioid addiction.  Some people are legitimate patients with a valid prescription and others simply get the drugs illegally from friends, family members and dealers.  The Department of Justice is focusing on a threefold approach to combat this epidemic head on: preventing further tragedies by raising awareness, focusing on enforcement priorities by highlighting best practices and improving resources for treatment.”


Community partners, medical professionals and local and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to implement tangible solutions in Chatham County. The goal of this roundtable was to bring community awareness to the dangers of the drug abuse that is devastating families here and across the country. For more information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.


Updated September 22, 2016