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Opioid overdoses are on the rise in Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic

New data from the Georgia Department of Public Health indicates that Georgia may be experiencing an increase in drug overdoses that overlaps with the emergence of COVID-19.

According to this data, the weekly number of Emergency Department visits with drug overdose syndrome has increased by 3% in the past nine weeks beginning April 4. Overdoses involving opioid, heroin and fentanyl use have risen even more dramatically according to the data.

During the 11-week period beginning March 22, there was a 5.9% weekly increase in suspected opioid-involved cases and a 6.4% weekly increase in suspected heroin-involved cases among Emergency Department visits with drug overdose syndrome.

Most startlingly, preliminary findings show a 17% increase of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths in Georgia when comparing the 5-month period of December 2019 to April 2020 with the previous 5-month period. A copy of DPH’s report can be found here.

“The opioid crisis has been a top priority for our office since 2016,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “Now, preliminary data suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic could be causing an increase in drug overdoses statewide.”

Carr is reminding Georgians to visit the state’s opioid website, DoseofRealityGa.org, for educational resources and outlets for those who are suffering from opioid addition, those in long term recovery and those who love, support and worry about them each day.

“Simultaneously, our legal team is continuing our case to hold accountable manufacturers and distributors who may have had a hand in fueling the opioid crisis,” Carr said. “As we’ve said before, we will leave no stone unturned, and we will not let Georgians down.”


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