The rates of drug abuse and addiction in Georgia have been on the rise. Similarly, the state has seen an increase in the number of overdoses involving various classes of drugs among its residents. This makes drug abuse a growing epidemic.
In Georgia, as in the rest of the United States, drug overdose is ranked as one of the main cases of death. This is particularly true for residents below the age of 50 years. For this reason, drug overdose and its associated fatalities is considered to be a state-wide epidemic.
The state lost a total of 1,014 lives to a drug overdose involving opioid substances in 2017 alone. This number might seem small but it had been rising for several years - and continues to do so.
For the 5-year period between 2012 and 2017, for instance, heroin was responsible for an increase of the death rate from 40 fatalities to a total of 263 deaths by the end of the period.
During this same period, synthetic opioids - such as fentanyl - were responsible for an increase in the death rate from 61 fatalities to a total of 419 deaths. This is not exactly surprising especially considering that it is among the strongest opioid drugs available today.
However, prescription opioid pain relief medications were linked to the highest number of deaths during this period. At the end of the survey, Georgia had lost a total of 568 lives to this class of medications.
Over the years, the state has been tightening its prescribing practices and laws - especially those that are related to strong opioid pain relief medications. However, this tightening has only caused chaos and led to an increase in the rates of irresponsible prescription practices among its health care professionals.
For the last period of study, doctors wrote 71 prescriptions for this class of drugs for every segment of 100 people in the state. This was much higher than the national rate of 59 opioid prescriptions written for each segment 100 people in the United States.
Sadly, the 71 prescriptions written for 100-people segments in the state was the lowest recorded number since data released in 2006. This is especially considering that the state lost 6 lives for every segment of 100,000 people due to an opioid drug.
Cocaine is also quite popular in the state. Data collected from its counties showed that the drug was responsible for a total of 100 deaths linked to the complications that it often causes.
Although the rates of death in Georgia are similar to those reported at the national level, crack cocaine has been contributing to even more problems. This drug is quite popular across its largest cities - particularly in Marietta and Athens.
Every substance of abuse comes with a high potential for addiction, dependence, tolerance, and many other problems. Residents, however, have an opportunity to achieve recovery because Georgia has a number of licensed and accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers that offer high quality recovery services.