PRESS RELEASE FROM PIEDMONT MOUNTAINSIDE
Jasper, Ga. (April 16, 2019) – From 1999 to 2010, opioid-related deaths in Georgia increased by 500 percent. In 2016, there were close to 1,000 deaths involving opioids in the state and those numbers are continuing to increase. Facing those statistics and knowing that all healthcare systems need to play a role in attempting to stem this epidemic, Piedmont Healthcare is examining its pain management policies and connecting its hospitals with stakeholders in the community in an effort to address this crisis.
National Drug Take Back Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is Saturday, April 27, and will feature activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies will provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from the home medicine cabinet. Using pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.
“One of the most important things we can do as individuals, especially as we try to protect our families and children, is to dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs,” said Piedmont Mountainside CEO Denise Ray. “That’s why we’re supporting the efforts of our local public safety departments and letting our employees know about National Drug Take Back Day and what they can do on a personal level.”
In 2018, Take Back Day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication. Disposing of those drugs safely keeps them off the streets and protects the environment as well. On its website for Take Back Day, the DEA has a collection site locator that allows individuals to find the closest take back sites to where they live: https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
Throughout its 11 hospitals, Piedmont will be coordinating with various local law enforcement and public health agencies on Take Back Day.
From a system level, Piedmont, the largest healthcare provider in Georgia, convened an Opioids Task Force in 2018 and is seeking to provide patients with optimal pain management while preventing the potential for opioid abuse. One of the key tenets to Piedmont’s plan is to increase education and awareness among both patients and staff. There are times when the use of opioids is appropriate and necessary, but Piedmont’s new protocols, created by its physician leaders in consultation with clinical staff, will consider non-opioids and alternate pain management modalities such as topical therapy, local injections, massage, physical therapy and more. Piedmont will also focus on establishing system-wide standardization and coordination of prescribing protocols in key risk areas.
“It is important to reduce the stigma around opioid addiction,” said Ray. “Unfortunately this is a sweeping epidemic, one that is effecting people across the country, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. No one person, organization, city or state can tackle it alone, but Piedmont Mountainside is proud to join our sister hospitals and play a role alongside our patients and partners in the community.”
Learn more about Piedmont at piedmont.org
ELLIJAY, Ga. – A nationally known jewelry thief narrowly escaped capture in Gilmer County after trying to sell stolen goods to North Georgia Diamond located in East Ellijay.
Earlier in the day of Saturday, June 2, a man entered The Blue Ridge Diamond Center in Blue Ridge, Georgia. It was there that the master thief was able to pocket a four-carat diamond tennis bracelet.
The owners of The Blue Ridge Diamond Center immediately notified police of the theft, and they also made it known to several area jewelry stores to be on the lookout for the male suspect.
Bill Craig, owner of North Georgia Diamond, described how the thief is able to steal these precious stones despite the added precaution taken by jewelers: “He confuses people and builds their trust and gets them to show him a bunch of different things.”
The suspect then goes on to become comfortable in the stores even sitting down to discuss custom jewelry options. Through sleight of hand, the suspect usually pockets a single valuable item and makes a casual exit from the building.
After stealing the four-carat diamond tennis bracelet, the suspect made his way to North Georgia Diamond in hopes of unloading his prize.
The suspect came into the store asking to sell the tennis bracelet, but staff quickly realized this was the thief from earlier in the day and notified law enforcement.
The staff stalled while police arrived. In the meantime, however, other customers entered the store.
Officer Tommy Long with the East Ellijay Police Department described the events upon arriving at North Georgia Diamond shortly after 2 p.m.: “When I arrived on the scene, I entered the business and observed two males talking with a sales clerk. Another male was to my right.”
While trying to silently verify which male was the suspect, the male to Officer Long’s right received a phone call and stepped out the door.
Craig, owner of North Georgia Diamond, immediately notified Long that the suspect was the male walking out the door.
Like the suspect had vanished into thin air, Long described exiting almost immediately after him: “As I exited the store, the male was nowhere to be found. I looked around all other businesses and beside and under porches but was unable to locate the subject.”
The suspect, having to make an unexpected exit, did leave behind the stolen tennis bracelet and a driver’s license.
The Oregon driver’s license identified him as Richard Laracuente. This name traces back to a number of warrants for theft across the United States. The suspect has also been known to use the name Robert James Allen, which too traces to numerous warrants for theft.
“It’s a pretty serious thing,” Craig said of the thief. “He’s a pro.”
Craig belongs to a group of jewelers who contact each other regularly via social media. It was on this site that Craig found out after leaving his store in Georgia, the suspect robbed a store a couple of states away in the following days.
“He hit a store in Kentucky,” Craig explained, “and those people had seen all the posts about this. They had seen what I posted.”
In Kentucky, the suspect was able to get away with a three-stone diamond ring.
Despite Craig’s warnings, the thief is able to continue his crime spree because, according to Craig, “he’s a very good master of disguise.”
“I warned everybody on the Facebook group,” Craig stated of his actions to try to warn fellow jewelers. “I said he’s going to hit. He’s going to hit again, and sure enough.”
Jewelry stores across the nation are asked to be on the lookout for the suspect and to contact local law enforcement immediately if the suspect enters their premises.
[Featured image: ID left behind by suspect when making his exit from North Georgia Diamond.]
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It’s Sine Die day, that means it’s the last day of the 2018 Legislative Session! Interviews First Vice Chairman of Georgia Congress 9th District GOP Rebecca Yardley on the experience and what to expect from the Georgia Capitol today!
SEX TRAFFICKERS WILL TARGET ATLANTA
DURING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WEEKEND
ATLANTA – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, along with our law enforcement partners, are encouraging both citizens and visitors to be aware of the possibility of sex trafficking during the festivities happening in and around Atlanta this weekend and into next week. In short, if you believe it might be, tell someone.
“Sex traffickers are despicable people, and they use events like the National Championship game to ply their trade,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These types of events draw large crowds of revelers, and sex traffickers often seek to exploit these types of opportunities. We need everyone’s help in identifying those being trafficked for sex, and in bringing the traffickers to justice.”
Many times those who are being trafficked are homeless, runaway, or abandoned children, but it is not limited to these groups. Traffickers also seek out at-risk individuals, i.e. those individuals suffering from sexual/physical abuse, or dependency, while also exploiting women and children from other countries – typically from impoverished nations.
There are some signs that people should be aware of which may indicate someone is being held against their will and trafficked for sex:
- They do not hold their own identity or travel documents;
- They appear to suffer from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade and frighten the individual;
- They have a trafficker or pimp who controls all their money – the victim will have very little or no pocket money;
- They are extremely nervous, especially if the victim’s “translator” is their trafficker; and
- They are not allowed to move about by themselves and have little understanding of where they are.
Victims may also lack personal items, possessions, or luggage. They may not have a cell phone or calling card. Most may also lack private space – a trafficker or an enforcer is always present. They most likely will not possess financial records or identification documents, or have any knowledge about how to get around in a community.
The penalties for sex-trafficking are substantial, but can only be enforced with the help of aware citizens. If you wish to report a potential sex-trafficking incident please contact the FBI at (770) 216-3000.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division ishttp://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
Senator David Perdue: President Trump Driving Consensus To Fix Our Legal Immigration System
“My personal focus continues to be on how we eliminate chain migration, which is a fundamental flaw in our current immigration policy”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) made the following comments after the White House meeting on immigration today:
“President Trump, being an outsider and business guy, is driving consensus between Republicans and Democrats to fix our legal immigration system. Today’s White House meeting was to define the scope of this negotiation to include four items: solving the DACA situation, addressing border security, ending chain migration, and eliminating the outdated visa lottery. President Trump is trying to instill a sense of urgency to get something done on immigration, but this topic should not be part of funding the federal government. My personal focus continues to be on how we eliminate chain migration, which is a fundamental flaw in our current immigration policy. If any conversation about DACA is being held without that consideration, it is not going to go anywhere in the United States Senate. The first thing a DACA recipient will do if given permanent status is use chain migration laws to sponsor those who violated the law originally. Ending chain migration and eliminating the outdated visa lottery program is in our national security and economic interest. President Trump has done a great job making sure this remains a top priority in any immigration discussion.”
Senator David Perdue Comments On President Trump’s National Security Strategy
“President Trump has laid out a clear path to protect our homeland and reengage around the world”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, comments on President Trump’s National Security Strategy:
“President Trump has laid out a clear path to protect our homeland and reengage around the world. This multi-pronged strategy will encourage diplomacy with our allies and challenge our global competitors in an ever-changing world. We have to recognize that the world is more dangerous than any time in my lifetime and Americans are facing more threats at home and abroad than ever before. Under the direction of President Trump, America is signaling a strong commitment to reengaging as a global and economic leader.”