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Lesli Messinger steps down as U.S. House candidate, addresses future plans

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On Thursday, February 6, the Macon Examiner has learned that the 2012 Democratic candidate for southeast Georgia's First Congressional District , Lesli Messinger, has decided not to run in 2014 and plans to take on an issue that is close to her heart.

The Chatham County Democrat has started a nationwide non-profit focusing on the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, advocating the 911 Good Samaritan Law to State Legislatures, and developing needle exchanges.

One third of all HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. are attributable to sharing infected syringes.

Since losing her youngest son Austin, at age 24 to an accidental overdose of Oxycontin, Ms. Messinger has been a nationwide speaker and counselor to thousands of families that have suffered the loss of a loved one under similar circumstances. The Chatham County resident earned a certificate as a drug abuse counselor.

Messinger became an advocate and together with other groups has aggressively lobbied various State Legislatures to increase funding for drug abuse prevention programs.

Ms. Messinger is passionate to have every State sanction the distribution of Naloxone, an inexpensive over-the-counter medication that counters the effects of opiate overdoses and saves lives.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) estimates that more than 33 million Americans age 12 and older misused extended-release and long-acting opioids during 2007—up from 29 million just five years earlier. And in 2006, nearly 50,000 emergency room visits were related to opioids.

Opioids—such as morphine and oxycodone—are used to treat moderate and severe pain. Over the past few decades, drug makers have developed extended-release opioid formulas to treat people in pain over a long period.

Messinger received 54 percent of the vote in the July 2012 Democratic primary, but had lost in the general election in November 2012 to the 10-term Rep. Jack Kingston, who is now a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In 2012, the Savannah Democrat had received more votes (almost 93,000) vs. Kingston than any previous candidate.

Messinger went on to win more votes (49,937) than Mitt Romney (47,204) in Chatham County, and was a leading Democratic candidate in 2014 after making an announcement late last year of her intention of running during the Christmas holidays.

Georgia's First Congressional District consists of 17 counties stretching from eastern Lowdnes County -- outside of Valdosta near Moody Air Force Base-- along the Georgia/Florida state line to the coastal areas of southeast Georgia; essentially the entire distance from Savannah to St. Marys in Camden County.



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