Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Wave of overdoses kills 2, leaves dozens hospitalized — Georgia overdoses

Mass overdose kills two, dozens more hospitalized in Georgia Deaths reported, dozens hospitalized after overdoses in Georgia
Steve Phelps | 09 June, 2017, 02:59

A dozen or more people in Georgia were hospitalized and four have died of likely overdoses, with at least some having taken yellow pills passed off by drug dealers as the painkiller Percocet.

An official with the Georgia Department of Public Health addresses the press on Tuesday. The New York Times recently culled through data from state health departments and county medical examiners and coroners, predicting there were between 59,000 and 65,000 drug deaths in 2016.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based in Atlanta, has estimated that 91 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.

The Department of Public Health has also received reports of similar overdoses occurring in Albany, Ga., two hours southwest of Macon. Some of the overdosed victims were found unconscious and not breathing and had to be put on ventilators.

The GBI is reportedly investigating.

Hendry said the drug is a "danger to the community". He urged residents not to take any medications other than those prescribed to them by a licensed doctor or obtained at a pharmacy. However, it's not clear what specific drugs were used since toxicology reports have not been returned.

Chris Hendry, a Chief Medical Official, said that the drug acts quickly once it has been ingested.

The deaths of four people in middle Georgia from opioid overdoses over two days this week is part of a rising national trend of painkiller abuse and overdoses. The GBI does not yet know what exactly the drug is.

The substance has not yet been identified, but it is extremely potent and required massive doses of naloxone (Narcan) to counteract its effects.

Pills and drugs sold on the street are often laced with many other drugs, making their effects unpredictable and risky.

According to health authorities in Georgia, this is the largest mass opioid overdose in the state's history. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among people under 50 years of age in the country.

Officials said Tuesday that they were awaiting tests to confirm the cause of the deaths and overdoses. Death related to drug overdose increased by nearly 19 percent from 2015 to 2016, which is by far the largest increase till date.

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