SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Organizers of the Addictions 911 event are hosting it at the Parc on Pennsylvania Avenue to educate people on the issue as well as provide a safe place for individuals in our area who struggle from what organizers of the event referred to as “substance use disorder.”

“We don’t like to use the term drug abuse,” said Claire Marich, an associate minister with the Asbury Church. “Words really matter. We like to use the term substance use disorder. People who have substance use disorder because there is so much stigma around drug use.”

In the state of Georgia, deaths from overdose increased by 55% from 2019 to 2021. Chatham County is no stranger to the issue of opioid abuse. 

The number of deaths related to opioid overdose have been steadily increasing since 2010, when the total was 21,000 deaths, compared to over 68,000 deaths in 2020.

Those numbers are courtesy of the national institute on drug abuse.

“Chatham county is no exception to that rule,” Marich said. “We’ve seen a marked increase in drug overdoses on the streets. Opioid overdoses have been tremendously escalating especially with the addition of fentanyl in the local market.”

The event on Saturday doubles as an opportunity to educate Chatham County youth on the dangers of fentanyl.

“More potent than heroin and so the addition of even the smallest amount of fentanyl can make even a first-time user die,” Marich said.

While also offering those who struggle with addiction and substance use disorder the chance to get help and guidance.

“Our objective is to invite the community into a safe space to provide good community connections and to provide them with the people, the therapies, the recovery options and treatment options that they need to be successful in recovery,” Marich said.