GA’s fight against fentanyl


Paige Blakemore, Staff Writer

On Jan. 11, Gov. Brian Kemp participated in a panel at the 2023 Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The panel included discussions on how every governor across the country is dealing with the increasing fentanyl epidemic. 

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there is enough fentanyl present in the country to kill every American. 

The GA Department of Public Health stated that from 2019-2021, fentanyl-involved overdose deaths increased by 218%. 

“The opioid epidemic with fentanyl contamination has been a problem for many years,” said Dr. Stephanie Jett, a psychology professor, “Overprescribing of opiates for pain management has hit rural areas, specifically in the South, the hardest.”

Affluent areas in metro Atlanta are no strangers to the epidemic. With many GC students coming from these areas, health educator Rachel Pope feels it is necessary to be aware of these students, who are equipped with prior knowledge.  

GC has taken steps to help combat this crisis. Over winter break, Rachel Pope sponsored a Narcan reversal training camp with the guidance of The Jed Foundation and supplies from Georgia Overdose Prevention (GOP). Naloxone (Narcan) can reverse opioid overdoses with an easy nasal spray. 

“It is so simple and can save so many lives,” said Pope. 

30 members of GC’s staff and administration attended the training. It was a surprising turnout, with multiple departments represented. 

“It is a start,” explained Pope. “Our goal is to have a dosage of Narcan in every building on campus.”

Pope went on to say that, ideally, there will be Narcan training offered every semester for more faculty and staff. Eventually, the training will bench off to students, starting with large groups such as Greek life and athletes. 

As reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the combination of opioid use disorder and fatal overdoses costs Georgia an estimated $21 million each year.