COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus is taking a big step in the growing fight against the opioid epidemic.
This comes after a decision from the Columbus City Council to put an emergency drug treatment in the hands of first responders.
“We’ve been given a green light by the Columbus Police Department, but they are a large department. So, we had to go to council to place a very large order,” said Dayna Solomon, Adult Drug Court coordinator.
Solomon said it’s been a problem that needs to be addressed in the Fountain City.
“We have seen a rapid increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in Columbus, Georgia. The Department of Public Health for the state of Georgia released their surveillance data and Muscogee County was in the top five for opioid-related emergency department visits in the state of Georgia,” said Solomon.
In Tuesday’s city council meeting, council members addressed the issue by approving a proposal to put more Narcan into the hands of all first responders. The sheriff’s office, Columbus Police Department, and Fire and EMS will have Naloxone in their patrol cars and tactical units.
“The reason we’re implementing it now is because we just got awarded the grant, but it means a lot for first responders to have something they can do instead of waiting on an ambulance,” said Mayor Skip Henderson.
It’s a part of what’s called the Porch Project: Providing Overdose Reversal to give Columbus Hope. The grant is for $125,000 for four years from the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration to train and dispense Narcan to every first responding agency.
Solomon said last Thursday there was an approval of a $2 million grant by SAMHSA in addition to the half million dollar grant discussed at the council meeting. Officials said they want to put the emergency treatment in jails and government buildings as well.