Fulton County has named a new “opioid coordinator” to help combat the narcotic drug epidemic.

Lynnette Allen is taking the new $55,300-a-year position.

Lynnette Allen, Fulton County’s new opioid coordinator. (Special)

“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on our society and within our county,” said Board of Commissioners’ Vice Chairman Bob Ellis, who sponsored legislation in 2017 establishing the county’s Opioid Abuse and Misuse Prevention Plan, in a press release. “Establishing this critical role is another bold step we are taking to proactively combat this menace.”

The press release says that Allen will “lead Fulton County’s efforts to address the opioid crisis and will serve as the point of contact between the county and community -based organizations, elected officials, Fulton County courts, local governments, the state of Georgia and federal officials.”

Allen brings more than 25 years of experience in public health and behavioral health, according to the press release. She has served with Fulton County since 2006, most recently as a program evaluation specialist with the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities. She holds a bachelor of science degree in community health education from the University of South Carolina.

Fulton has already joined lawsuits against prescription drug makers and distributors for their role in the opioid addiction epidemic, and provides funding for local first responders to carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, among other efforts.

Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs

Earlier this year, the Reporter published “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs,” an exclusive four-part series looking at how local families, nurses, prosecutors, recovering addicts and others are responding to a growing epidemic that already kills more people than cars, guns or breast cancer each year.

For the first story, about families using obituaries to tell the harsh truth of loved ones’ overdose deaths, click here. For the second story, about a Dunwoody man who runs treatment facilities for opioid users after surviving eight overdoses and facing prison time, click here. For the third story, about how a suburban mother started peddling fentanyl and became the target of federal prosecutors, click here. For the final story, about local schools deciding whether to carry an antidote to opioid overdoses, click here. The results of a community survey about opioid addiction’s effects on local residents, families and relationships are available here. For a local emergency department doctor’s overview of the opioid crisis, click here.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.