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State law officials, Hall judge to discuss opioid crisis at UNG forum

Five members of state and local law enforcement and the judiciary will gather Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the University of North Georgia to discuss the opioid drug problem.

UNG criminal justice department head Brent Paterline said the goal of the event is to educate people on the opioid crisis while also getting “some practitioners and policymakers together to see if there are any gaps or lessons to be learned.”

Opioid discussion at University of North Georgia

What: Discussion on opioids with state and local law enforcement

When: 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Sept. 25

Where: Continuing Education/Performing Arts Center, room 108

UNG’s Gainesville campus, 3820 Mundy Mill Road

Cost: Free, open to public

“We’re trying to get people with different backgrounds that have different points of view,” he said.

The three-hour event is titled “Opioid Problems in Our Community” and is hosted by the university’s criminal justice department.

The discussion will include Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan, GBI Chief Medical Examiner Jonathan Eisenstat, Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal and Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier.

Deal is the presiding judge over the Northeastern Judicial Circuit’s Drug Court, which includes Hall and Dawson counties, in addition to being the Council of Accountability Courts’ chairman.

Paterline said the GBI will likely discuss the crackdown on pill mills, while the medical examiner focuses on drug-related death trends.

“(The Department of Corrections) is looking at drug addicts in the prison system and the opioid-related issues facing the Department of Corrections, whatever they may be,” Paterline said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 42,249 overdose deaths in 2016.

“It’s more of a rural problem, and that’s where the pain clinics usually set up their bases,” Paterline said.

A question-and-answer segment will follow each session.

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