For weeks New 3 has talked about the numbers, the statistics, and the lawsuits when it comes to opioids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 115 people are dying every day due to the opioid epidemic.
News 3 recently learned Bryan County has the highest opioid prescription rate in the region.
Ninth graders in the county are misusing opioids at a rate that is two and a half times higher than the state of Georgia.
Tuesday night, the Bryan County Opioid Prevention Project met for an action and awareness panel. The panel featured local DEA officers, pharmacists, community members, Richmond Hill Fire Captain and Congressman Buddy Carter.
A local mother also shared her story of two sons recovering from addiction in an effort to help save others.
“The journey that we’ve all been on as a family; how hard it’s been watching my sons lose everything that they have,” Janell Fuller says.
The journey Fuller shares is near and dear to her heart. Her two boys, Robby and Rusty, identical twins, are 39-years-old and recovering addicts.
Fuller says,“It divided our family. We were divided.”
For Robby, she says it started at the age of 15 with marijuana then ecstasy. Nearly 10 years later, he was working, graduated college, had a family and was clean.
Working out became therapeutic for Robby until he injured his arm. After three surgeries, he was prescribed opioid painkillers by his doctor.
His mom says he would use a two-week prescription in one-week. He then turned to crushing the pills, adding saline and injecting through needles. Fuller says Robby told her, it took the pain away faster than just taking the pill.
His identical twin brother, Rusty also became addicted. Fuller says the road to recovery was made harder by their insurance company.
“Most of them don’t pay for it so it’s no help for all of those out there who are addicts,” she says. “It’s just been very tough, it’s very emotional and you know financially…”
For the last eight years, Fuller says, she’s prayed for her sons.
“I never gave up hope. My husband and I sometimes would have disagreements about it, because it was like tough love, tough love. And I could understand that,” she said.
Now Robby and Rusty are both recovering. The family is healing. But, Fuller has advice for other parents.
“Stay on top of what they’re doing, try to know who their friends are and where they’re going. Be very involved in their life and always let them know they can come to you and talk to you about anything. And educate them,” Fuller says.
Congressman Buddy Carter tells News 3, he and other lawmakers are working here and in the nation’s capital to help recovering addicts through the “opioid rehabilitation fund.”