Project DAN

“The stigma of addiction is something we need to address, but we need to keep these people from dying first.” Dr. Ray Gaskin, a board certified specialist in addiction medicine, has spent over 30 years watching and hearing people die from overdoses. He can tell you statistics that are quite frankly, staggering, how every hour three people die of an overdose, mostly from prescription pills but these days more than ever, Heroin. His mission recently, along with Dr. David Gaskin, is simple; raise awareness about Project DAN.


Project DAN (Deaths Avoided by Naloxone) is designed to reduce incidents of overdoses by equipping law enforcement officers with the prescription drug Naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it can safely and effectively reverse an overdose if applied soon enough. Equipping officers with Naloxone is only the first step in the process. Project Dan aims to provide training for these officers and eventually first responders, on how to administer Naloxone, while also increasing awareness of the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law.

Many addicts or friends and family of addicts are often afraid to call the police for fear they might get arrested but the Amnesty Law, passed in the House and Senate in 2014, protects those who are seeking medical assistance during a drug overdose.

Lesli Messinger, Executive Director of the Savannah Harm Reduction Coalition, lost her son Austin ten years ago to a drug overdose at aged 24. "Austin was such a wonderful person. He had a great laugh, and he had lots of friends," Messinger reflected. She has recently partnered with Dr. Gaskin and police officers to help raise awareness about Project Dan, but Lesli makes up the “street team”. “I actually go into the trenches, under the bridges, and the tent city’s handing out Naloxone Kits and letting people know about the amnesty law.”

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