Fulton County’s first responders may soon carry kits containing naloxone, a drug that reverses heroin overdoses.
Community groups have already begun distributing the kits to first responders in north Fulton.
County Chief Operating Officer Todd Long said training efforts are underway in the county’s unincorporated areas to teach police how to use them.
The county’s goal is to have the kits in every fire station, police department and school.
The commissioners first heard the plan April 13, but due to disputes among the board, it is now set to go to a vote today.
The goal is to pay the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition $49,000 to distribute and promote the kits.
The commissioners originally expressed support for the plan, but the south Fulton commissioners had issues with the proposal.
One major cause of disagreement was language referring to the North Fulton Heroin Working Group, a task force instituted by the district attorney’s office.
North Fulton has seen a spike in overdose deaths, but the problem is large in south and central Fulton as well, according to Commissioner Emma Darnell.
The south Fulton commissioners said they want to make sure their districts receive help, too.
Long said the county has been working with the north Fulton group to develop countywide solutions to the heroin epidemic.
“I know it’s caused confusion, but that group is called the North Fulton Heroin Working Group, and even if I take the word ‘North’ off there, that doesn’t negate the fact that that’s what they call themselves, even though our efforts with them are going to be countywide,” he said.
Darnell said she understands the language is not intended to exclude other parts of the county, but wants to see the wording changed.
“I just think that it’s going to be a little misleading if you say the comprehensive plan is going to be developed by, let’s say the south Fulton working group,” she said. “That would be a little misleading to folks in north Fulton. And it’s misleading to folks in south Fulton now, and in central Fulton, where we have more overdose deaths than anywhere else in this county, including north Fulton.”
Commissioners Joan Garner and Marvin Arrington Jr. also called for more cooperation between the county’s regions.
Commission Chairman John Eaves expressed optimism that the county will be able to work together to solve its heroin problem.
He said county staff should take the time to ensure the effort involves the entire county and suggested seeking federal funds to help the campaign.
“Let’s just do it right, and if additional resources are needed, let’s go ahead and do it,” he said.