At our July Coffee Connections Spotlight, Gwinnett Newton & Rockdale Public Health Department representatives will speak on the history of the opioids crisis in Gwinnett County and what's being done in the community to address this issue.
As part of the meeting we will all be training on the usage of Narcan and each person attending will receive a FREE Narcan Nasal Kit. Narcan (Naloxone) is an opioid antagonist. It dislodges opioid molecules from the brain’s receptors and blocks them from binding again. This effect can quickly restore a person’s breathing to normal if that person’s breathing has slowed down or stopped because of an opioid overdose. Naloxone WILL NOT improve breathing in people who have overdosed on other substances (such as alcohol) or for other reasons (such as asthma).
Our speaker from is Tom Branch, Unit Directore of the Opioid Surveillance and Prevention.
After graduating from Parkview High School in 1982 Tom attended Georgia State University and DeKalb Community College earning a degree in Paramedic Technology. He spent 28 years and 6 months with Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. While at Gwinnett Fire he was part of the Honor Guard, CISM Team, QA/QI Committee, and Technical Rescue Team. After his retirement, he continued to stay involved with the CISM Team as an active member representing the retirees. In December 2020 he was hired by Dr. Arona to start the Opioid Surveillance & Prevention Unit at GNR Health which is part of the overall DPH Opioid Response Team.
Tom volunteers with Operation One Voice, the Morten Andersen Family Foundation, Georgia Overdose Prevention, Heirborn Servants and is on the Board of Directors for S.O.S. (Southeastern Outreach Support) for Public Safety.
Tom and his wife, Kim have been married 15 years and live in Pendergrass, GA with their dog Eli. Kim is a retired Neuro Trauma nurse and she currently volunteers at Lightway Recovery Home from Women. Tom has 2 daughters and Kim has 2 sons and they have 4 grandchildren. They attend White Plains Baptist Church in Jefferson, Ga.