The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously April 20 to approve $49,000 in funding to supply emergency responders in the county with the drug naloxone. Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.

The resolution was sponsored by District 1 Commissioner and Vice Chair Liz Hausmann.

“As our county works to fight the violent downward spiral of heroin and opiate addiction, a tool like naloxone is essential to provide to our first responders in drug-related emergencies,” Hausmann said in a statement.  “Plain and simple, anti-overdose medications save lives and are critical in our efforts in Fulton County to handle this crisis.  It is a good first step to stem the tide of heroin deaths in our community from heroin overdose.”

The resolution authorized the development of a comprehensive plan for funding to equip and train first-responders on the use of naloxone, funding up to $49,000 for the initial purchase of naloxone, according to a press release.  The medication would be distributed to emergency responders in jurisdictions throughout the county.

Naloxone is either squirted into the nose or injected into the upper arm or thigh of the overdose victim.

Dunwoody and Brookhaven police departments currently use naloxone and have saved lives with the drug.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab noticed a 300% increase in samples of seized heroin between 2011 and 2014.  The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office reported a total of 19 heroin-related deaths in 2013 with that number increasing to 77 the following year.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.