“Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside.” – Author Unknown –

Summer – 2022 – Carrollton, GA – I am preparing for court. Suddenly, I receive a devastating message. This is a message that no one would ever want to convey. But, it is the second time in 2022 that I have had to make this call.

As I pick up the phone to call the mother of a client, I search for the appropriate words. There are none. I call the mother and tell her that I am sorry to be the one to deliver this message. I tell her that her son has overdosed on Fentanyl. He did not survive.

As tough as that call was, it pales in comparison to being the parent on the other end of the line.

March 16, 2021 – Austin, AR – 2:00am – A father is sleeping. Suddenly, he is jolted awake from the loud ring on his phone. His intuition tells him that something is wrong. He picks up the phone and hears an upset, yet familiar voice. The man on the phone says, “Bruce, he is gone.”

The father drops the phone as he hears the worst message any parent can ever receive. His 29 year old son, Cody, has just been poisoned (overdosed) on Fentanyl. Cody is taken to the hospital. But, the potency of the drug is too much for his body to handle. He dies in the hospital.

Was Cody a bad person? No. Was he lazy? No. Did he choose to be born with addictive behavior? No.

Cody Guthrie was a star football player at one of the top high school athletic programs in Arkansas. He was very intelligent, possessed great work ethic, and was one of the friendliest people you could meet.

But, a serious ankle injury put Cody on a path that would eventually take his life. The pain medication was not working anymore. He needed to kill the pain with stronger drugs. This turn of events would lead to incarceration, strained family relationships, and death.

After Cody’s death, his father, Bruce Guthrie who is the editor of the Times-Georgian, moved to west Georgia. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he decided to take a stand and attack the Fentanyl crisis in Georgia with the most powerful weapon used to combat serious issues that are not yet in the public eye; awareness.

Is there really a crisis? Consider the following:

  • Overdose deaths in Georgia grew 61% from 2019 to 2021, and Fentanyl-involved deaths leaped 230%;
  • Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin;
  • It’s highly addictive, extremely dangerous and is increasingly found mixed in with other street drugs; and
  • West Georgia is no exception. Make no mistake – the highly addictive and extremely dangerous drug is on our streets and claiming the lives of our children, brothers, sisters, family, and friends.

Let’s take a stand with Bruce and other leaders. We can do that by teaming up with others in our community on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 9:00am at City Station for the 2023 Fentanyl Awareness Summit. The Summit will include conversation promoting education, legislation, and enforcement. We will hear from local and state leaders, family members who have lost loved ones, and learn the staggering statistics regarding what’s going on in our own backyard. There will also be stories of hope and how we can all do our part. Vendors will be on site to visit and lunch will be provided by Little Hawaiian.

Speakers include:

  • Carroll County Sheriff’ Terry Langley
  • Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards
  • Villa Rica Police Chief Michael Mansour
  • Carroll County Coroner Keith Hancock
  • Testimonies from folks in west Georgia who have had loved ones taken away by Fentanyl.

Registration is easy and free. https://www.tanner.org/CREG/ClassDetails.aspx?sid=1&ClassID=6807

The quote at the top of the column is true. Addiction to anything will eventually lead to the loss of friends, opportunities, and sometimes life itself. There is no human power that I am aware of that can break the cold, steel chains of addiction. While the prison of addiction can be unlocked from the inside, only God can find the keys. He will unlock the door if He is sought.