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Safe America Foundation Announces a New Collaborative Initiative



Partners AMR, youthSpark, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority and the Georgia Global Health Initiative attend event at Georgia State Capitol to highlight importance of effort.

ATLANTA, GA – June 8, 2018 – The Safe America Foundation today announced a new collaborative venture to help victims of human trafficking along with those dealing with opioid addiction and veterans suffering from PTSD. As part of an event at the Georgia State Capitol, several officials and representatives from partnering organizations were on hand including American Medical Response (AMR), youthSpark, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority and Georgia Global Health Initiative.
“Safe America is committed to combating human trafficking and the opioid epidemic and helping returning veterans transition safely to civilian life with a focus on those suffering from PSTD,” said Len Pagano, Founder & CEO of Safe America. “Our foundation has a long track record of partnerships to tackle these major challenges and the collaborative venture we are announcing is no exception. By working closely with AMR, youthSpark, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority and Georgia Global Health Initiative, we are poised to be a voice of safety while helping keep those most vulnerable in our community safe.”
During the event, American Medical Response (AMR) announced the donation of an ambulance to the Safe America Foundation to support the collaborative venture’s efforts. The donated ambulance was parked outside of the Capitol with officials from AMR on hand to demonstrate its capabilities.
“We are committed to supporting safer and healthier communities throughout the many systems we serve in Georgia,” said Terence Ramotar, Regional Director for AMR. “Joining this collaborative effort along with our donation of an ambulance to Safe America reflects our commitment, and we look forward to making a difference in the fight to stop human trafficking and the treatment of opioid addiction and veterans suffering from PTSD.”
According to the FBI, Atlanta is among 14 cities with the highest incidence of human trafficking. Each month, more than 200 girls are trafficked in Atlanta with an average age of 12-14 years old. According to anti-trafficking organization youthSpark and a partner in the collaboration, there is no singular victim profile – it can happen to anyone regardless of race, sexuality, location or gender. There is a misconception that only girls are trafficked. However, it happens to boys too. In fact, because of gender norms, it may be more difficult for boys to tell others about trafficking experiences.
“We are pleased to partner with Safe America and this unique collaborative venture to offer education and training to support an additional safety net,” said Jennifer Swain, Executive Director, youthSpark. “Building social support for young people who may fall through the cracks is an important step in reducing Georgia’s trafficking rates, so working in collaboration with more health care organizations, hospitals and care providers is key.”
Based on a report submitted to President Trump by the White House Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, the President has officially declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. In Georgia from June of 2016 to May of 2017, the total number of opioid doses prescribed to Georgia patients surpassed 541 million. To put that in perspective, that is approximately 54 doses for every man, woman and child in Georgia. In addition, Georgia is among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, and 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.
In helping victims of human trafficking, opioid addicts and other vulnerable patients, safe transportation to the hospital is a major issue. For patients without health insurance, ambulance service cost typically depends on location, whether the trip is for an emergency or scheduled transport, how many miles the patient travels and whether basic life support or advanced life support is needed. AMR’s donation of an ambulance will help Safe America help those in need.
“Transportation is a very important component of solving most medical issues – for if you can’t get to a medical center or community hospital, you’re likely to have a delay in care and/or treatment” noted WellStar Atlanta Medical Center President Kim Ryan. “As Chair of Safe America, I am pleased that we will soon be able to assist veterans, opioid addicted individuals and human trafficking victims “get to” much needed care and services. We will work hard to develop a national model and look to partner with others – in Atlanta and around the country.”
According to VA, experts estimate that up to 20 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, up to 10 percent of Gulf War veterans, and up to 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans have experienced PTSD. Demand for PTSD treatment continues to grow – in the past year alone, the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50 percent and that’s only the reported and diagnosed cases. The annual cost to society of anxiety disorders is estimated to be significantly over $42.3 billion, often due to misdiagnosis and under treatment. This includes psychiatric and non- psychiatric medical treatment costs, indirect workplace costs, mortality costs and prescription drug costs.

About Safe America Foundation                    
The Safe America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit chartered in 1994, with headquarters in suburban Atlanta. The foundation partners with corporate, government, public and private sector organizations, and other nonprofits to save lives by emphasizing safety education and emergency preparedness. Our mission is to be the voice of safety, helping to keep people safe. Other key goals include helping returning veterans transition safely to civilian life, teaching safe driving techniques and hosting school assemblies on dangerous driving decisions, reducing cybercrimes, combating human trafficking, and championing programs to address safety needs such as Brain Camp, The WorldSafe Gala, BE Safe America and more. For more information, visit www.safeamerica.org.
About American Medical Response                    
American Medical Response, Inc., America’s leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 28,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs, RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 4.8 million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. AMR also provides fire services through Rural Metro Fire Department, www.ruralmetrofire.com, and managed transportation services through Access2Care, www.access2care.net. AMR is a subsidiary of Global Medical Response, www.GlobalMedicalResponse.com. For more information about AMR, visit www.amr.net and follow American Medical Response on Facebook @AMR_Social on Twitter and Instagram.
About youthSpark                            
youthSpark is an innovator in transforming the lives of youth at risk for exploitation and abuse, and a thought-leader in reducing child exploitation and youth sex trafficking rates in Georgia and across the country. We were founded in 2000 as an independent 501(c)3 when juvenile court judges, elected officials, and concerned friends in Atlanta envisioned an independent nonprofit organization with a concentrated focus on vulnerable children and families affected by the court. Today we fully embrace our position within the juvenile court system because it enables us to partner with judges, child advocates, and diverse Atlanta-area service providers to help meet critical needs within the Fulton County Juvenile Court—the largest concentration of at-risk youth and families in the Southeastern United States. For more information, visit www.youth-spark.org.
The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority
The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority promotes the health of the greater Atlanta community. Governed by a ten member Board of Trustees appointed by the commissioners of Fulton and DeKalb counties, the Authority is committed to working to meet the healthcare needs of the residents of Fulton and DeKalb counties through oversight of the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation. For more information, visit http://www.thefdha.org.
About WellStar Health System
WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 250 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, North Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments. For more information, visit www.wellstar.org.

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