Handel Holds GA-6 Opioid Summit

May 3, 2018 \\ Press Release

Handel Hosts Opioid Summit


The first Sixth District summit on combatting the opioid epidemic, titled “Understanding The Opioid Epidemic: Data, Prevention & Treatment Resources” was held at Dunwoody City Hall on Tuesday, May 1.

In 2016, more than 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. That same year, opioid-involved overdoses in Georgia accounted for 2,435 emergency room visits, 1,709 hospitalizations, and 929 deaths.

“Behind these statistics are real people and hurting families,” Rep. Handel said. “No one is immune to this epidemic, it is not one that discriminates based on age, race, zip code, or income level. But Congress has been working to address this crisis.”

Recently, the House of Representatives has prioritized implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, and appropriated funds specifically intended to fight the opioid epidemic in the budget agreement signed into law earlier this year. These measures fund and treat substance abuse in our communities while investing in law enforcement’s ability to track down and prosecute those who distribute drugs illegally.

According to recently released data from the Atlanta Regional Commission:

  • The rate of overdose deaths from prescription opioids was 6.2 per 100,000 people in 2016, compared to 3.6 in 2013 and 2.4 in 2006.
  • The death rate for opioid-related overdoses in metro Atlanta is higher than that of the state of Georgia.
  • Cobb County has experienced a dramatic increase in prescription opioid deaths, rising from 8 in 2013 to 61 in 2016 – the most in the 10-county region. Fulton County had the second-highest number of deaths, at 47.


Tuesday’s event brought together government officials, industry professionals, and community leaders to develop a shared understanding of the problem. During the summit, Representative Handel and her guests examined existing data, available resources, and gaps in treatment and prevention in Georgia’s Sixth District.

In addition to Representative Handel and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, those participating in the summit included Ernie Fletcher, Former Governor of Kentucky; Dave Johnson, CEO of the Fletcher Group; Bob Ott, Cobb County Commissioner; Bill Trivelpiece and Dan Salter of HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area); Mike Hargroder, DEA Division Head; Missy Owen, Executive Director of the Davis Foundation and CEO of The Zone; Justin Jackson, with The Zone; and Dr. Rita Noonan, Chief of Health Systems & Trauma Systems Branch at the CDC.