June 28, 2018
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell
Phone Number: (404) 893-7000
Dose of Reality - Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
ATLANTA – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, in partnership with the Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, have released an opioid public service announcement to remind Georgians that the opioid epidemic demands the urgent attention of everyone in our community.
“Georgians unfortunately have gotten a dose of reality about the dangers of opioids,” said Daniel R. Salter, the Executive Director of the Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). “In 2017, too many Georgians (nearly 1,050) died as a result of opioid overdoses. Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA is committed to forming strategic partnerships with law enforcement and community partners in an effort to combat this crisis.”
“Fighting this epidemic remains our highest priority and we will continue to prosecute criminals who threaten our communities with these dangerous drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “This public service announcement is a renewed call to remain vigilant in our efforts, as we continue to confront the challenges of this public health emergency. We must continue to work together – parents, children, teachers, neighbors, stakeholders, businesses and community leaders – to fight this epidemic and save lives.
The public service announcement highlights Joseph Abraham, a 19-year-old from Gwinnett County, Georgia, who struggled with addiction and its consequences for several years. He first experimented with drugs in the 8th grade. Throughout the years, his parents, David and Kathi Abraham, intervened by providing Joe with drug treatment, sober living, therapy services, and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous / Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA). On May 26, 2017, Joe lost his battle with drug addiction minutes after taking a fatal mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Joe is not alone. In 2017, an estimated 1,043 Georgians also lost their lives to opioid overdoses.
“My son has a name and he is more than a statistic. Joe made a mistake. A fatal mistake. One that could not be fixed. Our lives are forever changed because of the opioid problem that is devastating so many families like ours,” said Kathi Abraham. “Addiction does not discriminate. The opioid crisis and the rise of heroin use is not purely for people living in the inner city. Silence is not the solution. We must increase awareness, decrease the stigma of addiction, and educate both our parents and our children. It’s up to us to act in order to save others.”
The public service announcement is currently being shown in 17 theaters within the Northern District of Georgia as a reminder of the reality of this epidemic. To view the public service announcement, please visit our website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/video/dose-reality-georgia. For additional information and resources, please visit www.doseofrealityga.org/get-support.
This education campaign is part of Operation SCOPE (Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement), which is an initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to partner with federal and local law enforcement to fight the devastating effects that illegally-prescribed painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl have on our neighborhoods.
DEA also encourages parents & their children to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. Follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv