Author: Max Blau

For local police, free overdose antidotes came with a price: looming expiration dates

The Brookhaven and Dunwoody police departments are among the dozens of public agencies to have received free doses of naloxone, a lifesaving opioid-overdose antidote, from a Virginia-based pharmaceutical company. But a recent investigation into the company’s charity program found the goodwill was limited by the fact that some of those doses were within months of expiring. Four years ago, when Kaleo started giving away more than 330,000 naloxone auto-injectors, the Dunwoody and Brookhaven police departments were among the first law enforcement agencies to apply for the free antidote. They each received hundreds of doses of the lifesaving drug. They...

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Opioid ODs are deadlier than mass shootings, but some high schools don’t stock the antidote

In the spring of 2014, a student fell out of his chair in a 10th-grade classroom at Buckhead’s North Atlanta High School. A teacher quickly noticed he was unconscious and hardly breathing. After someone called 911, a paramedic arrived and, suspecting an overdose, administered an opioid antidote in hopes of saving the kid’s life. The antidote, known as naloxone, worked. In reviving the student, Atlanta Public Schools staffers suddenly found themselves on the front line of the opioid crisis. Nurses realized they could either shake it off as an isolated incident — or prepare for future overdoses to come....

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How a suburban mother started peddling fentanyl and became the target of federal prosecutors

He knocked at the door with $1,400 in his pocket. Cathine Sellers welcomed her ex into the quiet of her red brick townhouse on Roswell’s Weatherburne Drive. He’d been there for drugs before. Now he was back to buy some more. The 38-year-old mother with hazel eyes offered up a selection of drugs, including counterfeit oxycodone pills full of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. “Customers have returned the pills because they’re too strong,” Sellers told the man, according to federal court filings. “Try taking a quarter instead.” He bought about 100. Sellers later learned her ex was working...

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After eight O.D.s and a prison scare, a Dunwoody resident helps others on the road to getting clean

Chris Zollman’s road to recovery started with a swift act of mercy, continued through a treatment program in Sandy Springs, and ended with him quitting drugs. Now the Dunwoody resident devotes his life to helping others walk down the same path — a path that for many is often muddied by shady operators, controversial treatments, and pricey therapies. Six years ago, Zollman was consuming $100 worth of opioids a day and sold even more to support his habit. He’d survived eight overdoses — the last time, paramedics found him passed out behind the wheel of his car near Bobby...

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Life after death: Families turn obituaries into protests against the stigma of addiction

On a Sunday afternoon last April, the moment Larry Lord had dreaded for roughly two decades finally happened. His wife, Peggy, found their 35-year-old son Ashby no longer breathing in the basement of their ranch home on Sandy Springs’ Mount Paran Road. She tried performing CPR and called 911. But nothing the paramedics did could revive Ashby after a heroin overdose. Larry was devastated. Like many family members after a death, he faced the task of writing an obituary so that newspapers and the funeral home could inform their loved ones. Larry, an architect, considered himself a problem-solver. Usually,...

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