BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - A Bryan County organization is fighting the opioid epidemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.
The Bryan County Opioid Prevention Project launched late last year, aiming to combat misuse and abuse. The numbers show a pretty alarming trend in Bryan County, specifically. That's a big reason this project is so important to them.
The first involves use. About one in every 20 high school-aged students in Bryan County has misused a prescription drug in the last month. The second state gives some context to that. The project's executive director says Bryan County has a higher opioid prescribing rate than all neighboring counties, including Chatham.
The Bryan County Opioid Prevention Project is a team effort between the first responders, law enforcers, pharmacies, and other stakeholders in the community, such as schools. The goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of abuse. The program targets people of any age who are at risk of becoming an addict. One of the big problems with opioid abuse is that it can happen when people are legally prescribed medications. The issues in Bryan County show it can affect people in rural and even more urban areas.
"We're a little different in Bryan County that we have two sides to our county," said Mary Fuller, Bryan County Opioid Prevention Project. "The north end looks very different than the south end. It's an issue for both ends of our county. I really think it does, I hope, shine a light and say it really can happen to anybody."
Fuller says they got those numbers from students in a self-reported survey, so the number of students misusing could actually be much higher. She says they were surprised with the results.
"It creates a different feel, and more people unintentionally are becoming addicted because they're being prescribed by doctors so they think they're safe, and they kind of get out of control and beyond their control the more and more that they use them," Fuller said.