HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Every day in the United States, according to the CDC, 46 people die from prescription opioid overdoses.
A church in Warner Robins wants to change that.
"Opioids is like a freight train that's on the tracks and you can't stop that train," said Sergeant Dennis Marshall with the Houston County Sheriff's Office.
Marshall and others in Houston County are coming together on Saturday.
The reason? To discuss the opioid epidemic that is affecting people right here in Central Georgia.
The gathering will happen at First Baptist Church on Garmon Street.
"As law enforcement, we understand that we cannot battle opioids by ourself," said Marshall.
Jeremy Pass, a Warner Robins pastor, is scheduled to pray before the event. He says this epidemic is something we cannot ignore.
"I think we just kind of push it away, but even in the midst of pushing it away, it's right in our own homes, and we've gotta wake up to realize that we've got to help other people out and just stop letting it go by the wayside," said Pass.
According to the Georgia Attorney General's Office, Georgia is in the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths. 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.
The Georgia Attorney General's Office also said drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in the US.
That number is higher than gun homicides and car crashes combined.
Tommy Brown, who coordinated the event, said the goal is to educate the public on how they can play their part and stop addiction before it starts.
"We don't want people to come in and say, 'You're gonna tell us about what we're doing wrong. You're gonna tell us that there is a big problem.' No. We're gonna say, 'You can stop it before it begins,'" said Brown.
The event starts at 9 a.m. on August 17.
Brown said the Houston County Sheriff and Fire Department will be there along with the Warner Robins Police Department. There will also be a biker group giving free rides, bouncy houses, and vendors.
Both Brown and Marshall say one of the best places to start combating opioid addiction is to take any unused medications to a drop-off location.
If you are in Houston County, you can take those unused or expired medications to your local pharmacy, the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Robins Air Force Base Pharmacy, or the Warner Robins Police Department.
Marshall also recommends locking up any medications that are in your home and keeping them away from children or anyone who might be visiting.
He also has a message for anyone struggling with addiction: "There is hope and that you can move forward and have a successful life after it."