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Former addict discusses opioid crisis with Chamber health committee
Hospital official says overdose deaths are down
Reese Daniel.jpg
Reese Daniel

Reese Daniel, chief operating officer of Eagle Overlook Recovery for Adolescents in Dahlonega, lives his own success story.

At the Greater Hall Chamber Healthcare Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 1, he revealed to the room his 36-year road to drug addiction recovery.

“I was a narcotic addict and an IV drug user,” Daniel said. “I was the guy that your mama told you not to hang around with.”

He said one of the interesting aspects about being an addict involved how quickly he would be turned back into the streets after hospitalization from an overdose. Around 30 minutes after waking up in the hospital, he would return to his normal life and repeat the whole process again.

“I had no desire to die, but this is all I knew how to do,” he said.

Daniel said that he regularly went to jail, until his dad stopped bailing him out.

He was 25 years old when he decided to pursue recovery. The motivation was ignited by his father.

“He said, ‘Son, I’m not mad at you, I’m disappointed,’” Daniel said. “I’d rather my dad hit me with a baseball bat then say he’s disappointed.”

Daniel’s father told him that he would help one more time, if his son was prepared to get better.

Daniel spent a year and four months in a recovery residence. Today he helps adolescents with substance use disorders between ages 13-18.

He also talks about hope.

“I got hope from recovery and I got hope from the 12 Step community,” Daniel said.

With Hall County’s 12 Step program treatment centers, Drug Free Hall’s partnerships and various local initiatives, he said the area has taken great strides in growing its recovery community.

He encourages people to stop by J’s Place Recovery Center at 1362 Juanita Ave. in Gainesville, which opened about two months ago. The place was named in Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr.’s memory, who died six years ago from an overdose.

For those wanting to help people recover from drug addiction, Daniel recommends volunteering at Drug Free Hall, becoming educated about the subject and paying attention to those addicted.

For three years the Northeast Georgia Health System has partnered with Drug Free Hall.  

Deb Bailey, executive director of government affairs at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, spoke about the hospital’s efforts in combating the opioid crisis.

Bailey said because of the multiple drug recovery programs and initiatives in the area, she has seen the numbers of overdose deaths decrease.

Bailey said that in 2012 the hospital system changed how doctors write prescriptions in emergency rooms. Other improvements have been added like having peer support in the emergency department and neonatal intensive care units. All patients who come to any of the hospital’s emergency rooms because of a drug overdose or addiction disorder, will be seen by a peer.

“What we have learned is that in the last 14 months those peers saw 2,200 people,” Bailey said. “They not only see them in the emergency room, but follow up with them in the community.”

To learn more about Northeast Georgia Health System’ peer support program, visit www.nghs.com.


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