Cobb DA holds Opioid Town Hall, announces Family Advocacy Center opening

Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady stands in doorway

Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady (Photo By Caleb Groves)

By Caleb Groves

Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady discussed the opioid troubles facing Cobb and how the county is approaching them at the opioid epidemic forum Thursday evening at the North Cobb Regional Library.

Broady hosted the forum to inform residents of the severity and measures the county is taking to tackle the opioid epidemic.

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“We do have a problem and we have to do everything we can to get people educated to why this is important,” Broady said.

25% of cases in the DA Office involve substance abuse, Broady said.

Cobb and Douglas Public Health reports 547 total opioid deaths in Cobb from 2018 to 2022.

As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can kill someone, the equivalent of four or five grains of salt, Dr. Kevin Baldwin, a senior researcher at Applied Research Services, said.

“Fentanyl is now being used to adulterate practically every other drug of abuse,” Baldwin said.

“Cobb County has a very serious problem with stimulant combined fentanyl issues,” Aaron Bubans, Opioid Project Investigator for the DA’s office said.

Since last November, the DA’s Office has reviewed 145 overdose cases in Cobb. The majority of cases come from the Marietta and Cobb Police Departments, Bubans said.

Xylazine, a powerful sedative, is particularly deadly in part because naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, does not reverse overdoses, Buban said.

In Cobb County, there have been three confirmed xylazine cases. However, Buban expects that number to rise.

The Cobb Opioid Strategic Coalition is focused on harm reduction and prevention of opioid use in the county. The county is doing this through American Rescue Plan Act funds. These funds have helped put kits together with naloxone and fentanyl test strips for families who have experienced emergency overdose calls, Lisa Crossman, Deputy Director of Cobb and Douglas Community Health, said.

The Cobb Sheriff’s Department is also working on putting together kits with naloxone and fentanyl test strips for recently discharged inmates who have substance abuse charges, Crossman said.

“The issue is that people are having challenges in their life. Mental health challenges, economic challenges, and so they’re turning to self-medication to relieve that pain, whatever that pain is,” Crossman said.

Family Advocacy Center

Broady announced the Cobb Family Advocacy Center will officially open on Dec. 15, 2023. The advocacy center will provide services and resources to families and victims of abuse to help them get away from their abusers.

“Family violence is that hidden crime here in Cobb County and it’s serious,” Broady said.

Most victims do not report family violence until the eighth time, Broady said.

State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick’s Georgia General Assembly Updates

State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick is looking to confront xylazine use in Georgia through legislation to approve xylazine test strips once they are FDA-approved as xylazine cases rise in Georgia.

She also mentioned she is working on legislation to create an age restriction on Delta-8 THC products.

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