Commissioner launches new podcast covering local issues

DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson has launched a podcast that will “feature organizations, services, and local and national conversations that are relevant to the DeKalb County community.”

According to Cochran-Johnson, the podcast is a project she has been working on to “expand constituent engagement.”

“As a professional, I spent two decades in mass media and communications, so I understand the value of communication and engagement with our residents in DeKalb,” said Cochran-Johnson. “I’ve been working on the show content and concept for quite some time. I hope the podcast can become a model for other municipalities.”

The podcast, called The Weekly Chat, will cover a variety of topics, including healthcare, economic development, public safety, legislation, small business development, dining, entertainment, and finances, according to the podcast’s website.

Video content and other information related to each podcast episode will be available as each episode airs.

The first podcast episode tackles a topic that Cochran-Johnson said she hopes will inform DeKalb County residents of a deadly epidemic – the opioid crisis.

“Opioid use has reached pandemic levels and we are seeing a new deadly trend of fentanyl being laced with xylazine,” Cochran-Johnson said. “The mixture is so deadly that the Biden administration is declaring xylazine-laced fentanyl an official emerging drug threat to the nation. This is the first time any drug has been given that label. Xylazine is so potent that even an amount the size of a grain of salt can be deadly. Xylazine-related deaths in Georgia have occurred in DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties.”

During the episode, Cochran-Johnson and Mahlet Solomon, director of development at Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, discuss combating the opioid crisis through wellness services and education.

“I do not want a single resident to be uninformed about these issues,” said Cochran-Johnson. “I am dedicated to providing information and content using the podcast so that residents can understand issues that affect health and public safety, as well as DeKalb services and departments, trending issues, and community related issues.”

The new podcast is now available on multiple apps, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Amazon Music. Listeners can tune in or watch the podcast discussion video biweekly, according to a news release.

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